Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The journey toward home ownership

So I’ve left a lot out of the blog, and I’m going to rectify that now. Sit back, cuz it’s gonna go on a while.

Several years ago, a banker talked me into an Registered (Retirement) Savings Program, or R(R)SP (sort of a Canadian IRA) and a Tax-Free Savings Account (TSFA, sort of a Canadian Roth IRA, if I understand what a Roth is). The TSFA was so I’d have an interest bearing savings account that I could have automatic deposits directed to, because obviously without such a scheme I am incapable of ‘putting money away’ on my own. And interest. That’s post-tax dollars, so the only freedom from taxes if on the interest, up to some amount of deposits a year. Something absurd like $5000 which I couldn’t hope to get to even if I worked at it.

The RSP was sold to me not because I should be saving for retirement, which I should, but because there’s a scheme where you can take out money for a first mortgage (or a mortgage of a first home, or a primary home, or something) without penalty (with the proviso that you have to pay it back in some specified amount of time, but if I was able to save it in the first few years, I could certainly pay it back in the next). So I’ve slowly been building a little bit of savings toward a down payment on a first house.

So for a while now, the banker has been pressuring me to buy something, because equity and so on. Never mind that in the meantime my banker went away and was replaced by a random dude I don’t know. Not that my banker wasn’t originally a random dude, but at least she called me asking if I wanted to arrange some investments, as opposed to this random dude who inherited her extension, when I called to find out about a mortgage.

Okay, so the reason I was inquiring about a mortgage was that I decided that this was the year. Actually I decided a couple years ago that next year would be the year, and started looking in earnest. My idea was I could read listings and visit open houses and whatnot at my leisure, which I did, until I found a place that I wanted to do something about, and then I could do something about it.

The change this year was that apparently someone in my building (on my floor) has complained about a ‘smell’ that was determined to be coming from my apartment, and in February I was threatened with eviction if I didn’t do anything about it. Since still have no clear idea what this smell was or where it came from, I have even less clue about whether or not I got rid of it. But in dealing with it, I cleaned up my place enough that they didn’t evict me. But anyway, whether it was in March or the end of July (at the end of my lease), this was Clearly The Time.

So I called a realtor and actually started looking at places with professional assistance. Once I wasn’t getting evicted, I found a mortgage broker. (Banker #1 and Banker #2 both did pre-pre-approvals on me and assured me that they could get something together in something like 24 hours, so if I’d been evicted, I would have just gone with that, but since I didn’t and had a few months to plan, I decided that due diligence would be for me to shop around. And since I have no idea how to shop for a mortgage, I engaged a broker.) And in between the start of this story and the end Banker #2 went away and was replaced by someone else. And she needed somebody else to do something later on in this story. So in case you’re counting, we’re on Banker #3.5.

So Realtor has been feeding me listings, and every couple weeks we went to look at a few. Meanwhile Mortgage Broker has been shopping my specs around, working out interest rates, insurance rates, different down payment schemes. I don’t pretend to understand any of it. At some point she or the lawyer or somebody will tell me to appear somewhere with some kind of money in some specified form, and I will.

So, we looked at a bunch of places, and of course, after dithering for weeks and weeks, we settle on what I call door #2, i.e. literally the second place we looked at. It’s not what I thought I wanted (which was something like a townhouse, rather than something like an apartment, with a private garage in very short list of places in town. It met all my other specs for an apartment though (two bedrooms, two baths, underground parking, in-suite laundry. Second floor, for going up and down stairs to the garage–because I can do two flights easily, three flights sometimes becomes problematic, but four is painful, at least going up). In my price range. Reasonable value per square foot, or however you calculate value. New build, more or less completed and available more or less any time.

So I did it. On Saturday, April 25th, I put down a deposit on an apartment-style condo in the ‘village’ called St Norbert, just south of what I think of as Winnipeg proper. (The current city of Winnipeg was amalgamated from several distinct municipal domains in the 1970’s. So technically St Norbert is a ‘neighbo(u)rhood’ in Winnipeg. But it’s just south of The Perimeter (highway) which in my mind encircles Winnipeg Proper (although Winnipeg Proper in this sense includes stuff that isn’t technically in the city of Winnipeg, and there are places, like St Norbert, which are technically in the city of Winnipeg, but not within The Perimeter). (This sense of Winnipeg Proper may be something I just made up all on my own.)

So deposit deposited, paperwork gone through, Offer to Purchase made, and condo I got the condo documents, which gave me seven days to fulfill the conditions on my end of the offer, which were a) lawyer approval, and b) securing funding. So I get the Realtor to recommend a Lawyer, and the Lawyer(‘s assistant) agrees to take on the Offer to Purchase (it was pretty boilerplate and the Lawyer expressed general concern about whether the unit would be available by the proposed July 7 possession date, which since it’s basically finished it will be) and gives his approval. The Mortgage Broker nails down a deal with a lender I’ve never heard of (but apparently is the largest non-bank mortgager in Canada); we talk about what happens if I or the mortgager defaults, what happens if I sell, what happens if I die and so on, followed by the signing of papers and so on. Lawyer and Mortgage Broker send paperwork to Realtor, who sends it to Seller, and barring unforeseen Acts of &deity;, it’s all gonna happen.

So I went off to a conference in the third week of May, and since then I’ve been purging and packing. At least that was the plan. Mostly I’ve been dithering and worrying. But I have engaged a moving company, who are coming on July 13th to move everything I tell them to move, so I have until then to get packed. And purged.

I’ve also had a meeting with Banker 3.5 (since April, Banker 2 has moved on and Banker 3 needed assistance to do something magical with my RSP), and I think now I wait for the lawyer to call with a dollar amount, and instructions about who to write the check (or get the bank draft made out) to, and when/where to show up with it. I still need to do condo insurance (which Realtor told me I’d need to be able to prove I have before I take possession). I’ve called the cable/internet company to arrange my change of service. I need to call the phone company and cancel my landline, and do something about reserving elevators and informing my current landlord that I’m not renewing my lease. And purge. And pack. Fortunately, I’m sort of taking June and July off, to do all this. So here I go.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Not a train wreck: thoughts on Titus Andronicus (generally and at the Black Hole Theatre)

Okay, this is sort of not a review of Black Hole Theatre’s production of Titus Andronicus. For the record, BHT did a really good job.  I recommend it highly.  This is more about musing on a) problematic plays in general, b) Titus Andronicus as example of same, and c) what I like about small theatre companies with limited resources and other ‘constraints’.

BHT is the University of Manitoba’s Department of English Film and Theatre’s theatrical production department.  Every year they do three full productions a year, contribute to the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s annual Master Playwright festival, and several one-hour lunch-time, in a smallish space deep in the bowls of University College.  So mostly students under the direction of the Theatre Program staff, with limited resources. And an odd play space.

It’s interesting that they’ve chosen Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s first and arguably bloodiest tragedy, for their season.  It’s problematic for a bunch of standard reasons—the principal villain, or at least the one who soliloquizes and monologues most about this motives, is described as a Moor, which as we all know from college Shakespeare is code for ‘black’ and ‘object of mistrust’.  Aaron, in fact, is sort of the archetype that Othello eventually turns upside-down, but with nearly equally tragic results.  

So there’s the potential blackface problem, and if not, you have to find a non-white actor who a) can do it and b) doesn't set anyone's triggers off. (Trigger warning, it's not possible to talk about this play without setting off someone's triggers.)  There’s the blood and gore problem.  There’s what could be a rather comical set of impersonations that are always hard to do with modern audiences.  By modern standards, the cast list is very long.  There’s the language.  There’s the (trigger warnings) the rape and dismemberment (thankfully off stage) of a central character who spends quite a bit of the rest of the play sobbing, shrieking, or bleeding.  There are more dismemberments on and off stage, as well as the the typical murders you get in a Shakespeare tragedy. There’s the limitations of space, the company, the money, and everything. But it’s Shakespeare.

This is apparently the first time anyone has mounted a full production of Titus in Winnipeg. Possibly Manitoba.  So when I first heard they were doing why they didn’t take the hint that no one mounted it. Maybe they were looking for the challenge.

Well, happily, not a train wreck.  Really well done, although (as is typical) some of the decisions were … odd. Like any production in a first run it could use quite a bit of tightening up.  Some of the actors were stronger than others, which is always the case in this kind of company, some of the actors were better able to embody and portray their characters, and get through their language and physicality, better than others.  But no one did badly.  I’d say everyone did pretty well or better.

In terms of stuff they got right, most of the central characters were handled really well.  We can argue about specific choices on specific lines or in specific scenes, and if you want I’d be happy to go one about it, but basically it was an evening well spent.

There are, literally, dozens of speaking parts, and one of the ‘problems’ is that even if you double everybody, you still have a fairly large cast for a small company.  They did it with 27. Which was more bodies than I’ve ever seen in that space at one time.  In many BHT performances it could easily outnumber the audience. Stuff that was sort of odd, but worked in context:  Except for Lavinia and Tamora, and possibly the nurse, the characters in the play, as I recall, are all men, but the cast many of them with women, and played a few of them as women.

Soldiers, Goths, random Romans, were pretty much equally distributed among the men and women. There’s really no reason for an occasional soldier, herald, tribune, supplicant, to be a woman instead of a man.  One of Tamora’s sons was played by a woman, which was an interesting choice considering (trigger alert) he is one of the rapists.  But Marcus (brother of Titus) was played as Marta, and played as a female.  Bassianus, who (trigger alert) doesn’t survive the first act, was played as Bassiana.

Marta works except that it throws off some of the verse, especially when Titus’s sons have to talk about Aunt Marta.  Bassiana is an interesting choice because she ends up marrying Lavinia (or intending to) early in the play. So there are places where they have to talk about Lavinia’s wife. Which isn’t a problem for a modern Canadian audience, but 10 years ago would have been more difficult.  It also throws off some of the verse. There’s a few substitutions of ‘brother’ with ‘sister’ but without also doing something about ‘brothers’, which bugged me, as someone paying attention to the verse and the language, but I’m probably the only one.

These are minor quibbles, and were interesting choices.  More odd was the choice to play the Goths, or at least Tamora, her sons, and Aaron, her attendant, as goth, complete with leather and fishnets and eye makeup.  The Goth tribals, when they show up in the second act (in this production), are wearing variations on war paint (potentially problematic) in black (potentially problematic) mostly dressed in camo fatigues (huh?). Which given their status a warriors was intresting, but it definitely took the edge off the goth thing.

They cast a tall skinny white guy as Aaron, the Moor/villain, who was having a little too much fun being a psychopath for my taste (several actors must have taken maniacal giggling lessons from the same teacher), but it worked. They did not, thank heavens, put him in blackface, opting to goth him up with tattoos on his face and neck (and elsewhere).  But then a major plot point occurs and they have to give him a baby son. And they used a brown doll.  And a lot of his speeches at that point become about dark skin and thick lips and slave imagery and so on.  This is problematic.

I’d have been happy with just a rolled up blanket and not doll. I’m fine with a white actor playing one of Shakespeare’s Moors.  The doll was … odd.

I’d also have been happy with fake blood. By which I mean symbolic blood, or suspension-of-disbelief-okay-I-accept-there’s-blood-but-there-really-isn’t blood.  But they went with regular stage blood.  Everywhere.  Between Lavinia spurting and spitting up, and the tossing of dismembered body parts around, there was blood everywhere. (Note to directors, using the severed hand to squirt blood at characters was effective, but a human hand doesn’t contain that much blood and not in such a sway as you can make it squirt by squeezing it.)

Stage blood is typically corn syrup and red food coloring.  And it’s sticky.  And for the rest of the play, you can see and HEAR the actors walking through the sticky blood and tracking it around the stage. Eye. Roll. At intermission, I expected somebody to come out and mop it up, but I guess knowing that a lot more was coming in the second act they didn’t bother.  But scrrrp scrrp scrpp with every actor’s every step was kind of obnoxious. As was watching perfectly clean costumes get stained out of context.  (For the record, wasting time mopping up blood between scenes would have been disruptive, so good choice there. But it is for that reason that finding Some Other Solution might have been a good choice. 

Lucius (son of Titus, and presumably father of Lucius, grandson of Titus—another problem intrinsic to  the play is just keeping track of all the Lucii—for those not familiar, they are a subset of the Andronici, but there are Andronici who are family and there are Andronici who are just followers, and keeping them all straight can be difficult, especially when the actors playing them, at any given moment, might be a solder, a retainer of someone else, a Goth, or whatever.  Anyway, Lucius) spent most of his big speech in the last scene stalking around the set (scrrp scrppp) with a napkin stuck to the sole of his boot.  Which so distracted from the gravitas of his speech, considering basically at that point everybody else has died.

So what am I saying? Titus is a rough play. For technical and practical reasons. It’s an early Shakespeare play, so combine the language problem with the not-precisely-well-translated-to-modern-audiences form, complete with the implausible plot elements, and plenty of—well, odd choices.  (One of which included, in this production, clown make up and fright wigs. Eye. Roll.) I mean, the play is difficult, the resources limited. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  And what they did was actually put together a really good small-company production of a very hard play.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Noodling to myself about my upcoming leave application

At the University of Manitoba (and I assume elsewhere) we don’t get ‘sabbaticals’. We get ‘research/study leaves’.  I’m not sure what the difference is supposed to be because as a student I never really paid attention to the preparation beyond ‘Peter’s going to spend the year in India’.  I was certainly unaware of an ‘application’ to take the leave, which had to be approved by the Department and the Dean.  But what do I know?

Here (and I assume elsewhere) (and I'll stop saying that now), you trade in ‘credits’ toward your RSL.  One credit is basically one full year of regular service (or rather, one-half credits is one term plus some of the summer*).  So in 2009, when I took my first leave, I had nine credits.  I used six of them to ‘pay’ for my full year RLS.  You don’t accrue credits while you’re on leave, and there’s a clause in the leave that you a) can’t use it to seek employment elsewhere, and b) you have to come back and work (for credit) for an equivalent time.  So if you take a year leave, you have to come back and do at least a year of service before you quit and move somewhere else

So anyway, I’ve spent the last couple years planning to take my leave next year. At the end 2014-15 school year, I will have 8 credits.  I had planned to take a full year.  That would mean being released from teaching so I could go research/study stuff, for 6 credits, during which I would receive 80% of my regular salary.  

My alternatives, as pointed out by my department head, would be to take a six-month leave (which would make scheduling classes and committees and such easier) at 80% salary for 3 credits (and save 5 credits going into the next cycle.  Less appealing from the taking leave standpoint, but much more appealing from the buying and moving into a house in the next couple years, is taking six months at 100% salary, which would cost me 6 credits. 

Now, in the abstract, and having a vague understanding of economic principles, I wouldn’t want to waste 3 perfectly good credits on just 20% of my salary, actually 10% since it would be just six months.  On the other hand, I would still have two credits and could take another 6-monther in a couple of years.

It’s also harder to deny more frequent half-leaves since many of the scheduling and programming issues just don’t come up if you’re only gone for half a year.

So actually, the idea of semi-often one-term leaves is actually more appealing than the relatively infrequent full year.  But I really like the flexibility of a full year.  Then again I learned last time I’m probably not the time manager to really make a full year work for all it is intended to

So what to do what to do?

*This is relevant only because the accrual of credits during regular work is defined in terms of half-credits and half years.  But if you’re denied a leave for some reason, your work is calculated as one credit for a full year of service.  As if it wouldn’t be, if you just weren’t on leave, as opposed to having intended to take a leave and having it denied for some reason. Or, having had your leave denied, you don't get credit for you service because you asked? They're not that weaselly.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Why “Washington Redskins” is offensive whether you think so or not

Most of my life I’ve had teachers, friends, colleagues, consultants of various native North and Central American ethnicities.  Most don’t identify as “native American”; most identify with some specific ethnicity: Kootenai, Cree, Cherokee, and so on.  But most will use ‘native American’ as a catch all.  Some will even use (American) (or in Canada ‘Treaty’) Indian in a pinch.  My impression is that sometimes it is important to identify with a larger community of American aboriginal peoples, particularly in the context of shared history of repression, and other times it is just not relevant (or worth the effort) to explain how you are a Hopi and your friend is Navajo. 

But in case you were wondering what the big deal is with “Washington Redskins” (and I didn’t want to get into a lecture specific to anyone in particular) here’s what I have come to understand.
  • The word “redskin” is and has always been use pejoratively.  You’d only call Tonto the Lone Ranger’s redskin friend if you wanted to emphasize his non-whiteness.  If you were being respectful, you’d refer to him as the LR’s Indian friend, or Native friend, or Choktaw friend, or Ute friend, or whatever he is.  If you're being really respectful, you'll just call him the LR's friend, since his ethnicity is probably not relevant.  Or you'd just call him Tonto, rather than referring to him as 'just' an appendage of a white man.  As a word, 'redskin' picks out a specific and not entirely definitional or universal trait of a wide group of people. So not only is it just intrinsically ‘Other’, like ‘spic’ or ‘dago’, it reduces membership in the group to a particular trait which is neither sufficient nor necessary for inclusion in the group. 
  • Some people object to the dehumanizing effect of a reference like ‘redskin’ in the context of a mascot.  These people point out that many sports teams are named for animals.  So ‘redskin’ for many suggests something non-human, akin to ‘lion’ or ‘bear’. (Interestingly, sometimes these people don’t have the same trouble with ‘Spartan’ or ‘Hun’.  But…)
  • It may not be intrinsically offensive to refer to historical groups of people who no one (or very few) living people identify as, e.g. ‘Trojan’, or to a non-ethnic group (again primarily historical) like ‘forty-niner’, ‘saint’ or ‘buccaneer’.  On the other hand, when it comes to current ethnicities and nationalities, things get problematic.  How offensive ‘fighting Iroquois/Swede/Barbadian’ is depends on how those particular ethnicities relate to whatever the mainstream culture is.  And aboriginal peoples are always in a vulnerable position with respect to dominant colonial cultures.
We don’t seem to be bothered by ‘fighting Irish’ (though many are), but a lot of people up here are concerned about ‘fighting Sioux’.  I remember someone asking if they should support a team called “the Kansas City Jews”.  So while ‘Irish’, ‘Sioux’, ‘Seminole’ may be in use, and are problematic, at least they refer to a specific group of people, with at least a more culturally neutral term than ‘redskin’. 

So it comes down to this.  If you don’t understand why “Washington Redskins” is offensive, think about what it would be if it was the “Cincinnati Darkies” or the “Denver Wetbacks”. Because basically that’s what we’re dealing with.

Friday, 9 May 2014

My left bootie: Adventures in healthcare

I’m home from my unpleasant medical procedure, “taking it easy for a few days” as directed.

Short version of the story: Inferior uvulectomy, because my uvula is (was) long and fleshy and I could feel it on the back of my tongue and it was a huge anxiety trigger and potential contributor to my gagging problem. So I had it yanked out. There has been discussion about preserving part of it so I can continue to make uvular trills for demonstration in class, but I'm not sure to what degree that has been accomplished.

Long story: except for the sleep study, I’ve never spent a night in a hospital, so I’ve been kind of anxious about the whole process. I think I was more anxious about the process than the actual procedure.

So it started months ago with the ENT (that’s Ear-Nose-Throat doctor, or otolaryngologist if you prefer). Followed by the scheduling and the rescheduling, much paperwork (fairly detailed medical history, four pages of consent and indemnification stuff, and so on), and a couple of weeks ago a pre-operative assessment. Basically information at all stages (in both directions) was the same.

The procedure itself should have been relatively minor, an outpatient deal. But because of my general health issues, my gag reflex, and so on, I had to be admitted to the hospital overnight. Which confused absolutely everyone, because all my information had dire warnings about not being alone for 24 hours, having someone around when you sleep, and so on. Which is one of the reasons they kept me in the hospital, as if I were undergoing a much more complicated uvula-pharyngeoplasty.

Okay, so the precise timing of my post-op instructions is a little cloudy, in terms of when exactly I am allowed to be out of someone's sight and to pick my own meds and drive and so forth, but I figure we’ll cope. Tuesday the hospital calls to confirm my surgery, which apparently has been moved from 2:45pm to 7:45am. So the carefully negotiated plans to get me to the hospital around noon go out the window and I have to scramble. Luckily I have many more, better friends, than I sometimes realize.

So Ken gets me to the hospital yesterday morning at 6:20 or so, in plenty of time for my 6:45 check in, which turns out to be when admitting opens anyway, so I sit in the lobby not drinking coffee or anything because I’m not supposed to eat or drink anything before surgery (this starts at midnight for food, actually 9:30 or so for me) and no more than 6 oz of water not less than 3 hours before surgery. So sitting in a waiting room for half an hour being able to smell the coffee and the donuts was a bit of a trial.

So I’m in prep. I change into my gown, put little mesh bootie things on my feet and climb into bed. Doctors come by to reassure me. I managed to do everything else right (shoes in black bag, black bag and everything else except the CPAP machine into the white bag) except that I forgot to put my shirt in the white bag. A nice orderly took care of that for me on the way to surgery. Oh, and I couldn’t work the hairnet thing so he had to do that too.

In the hall outside the surgical suite, I go through everything with nice OR RN Ricardo.  He gets me onto the table, hooks me up to my IV, attaches a bunch of electrode thingies to various parts of my body.

Surgery, I’m told, went perfectly, which from my end isn’t quite how I’d describe it. The actual procedure was fine, I guess, but as they were removing the breathing tube I experienced some kind of spasm (laryngeal, tracheal, possibly esophageal) and couldn’t move any air. Not being able to breathe is another huge anxiety trigger, which is one of the reasons I don’t swim anymore, so naturally I panic. It takes a couple of nurses and the anaesthetist (which they spell with the up here and pronounce with [i]) to hold me down and pump some Ventolin with the oxygen and get me to calm down. A little. I occupy my mostly functional brain trying to remember BSL fingerspelling, which I believe I am successful at, so I am able to convince myself, as I slowly begin to draw breath, that I haven’t had a stroke on the table. Which can totally happen. It’s not particularly likely, but, you know, a little learning….

So I’m in recovery, oxygen sensor, blood pressure and other things attached (as they have been all through the procedure). Mostly uneventful, since I’m awake and breathing, except at one point my blood pressure starts to drop (I heard 80-something/54), so they start me on some saline and things seem to moderate. I get some ice chips. Through all of this, they keep saying that it’s possible they could send me home that afternoon/evening, which would have required a huge scramble. But it wasn’t to be.

They take me upstairs to the Apnea Ward, which is empty except for me (it fills up over the course of the morning). I drift in and out of useful consciousness while nurses hook me up to stuff and monitor my vitals and make sure I don’t die, or whatever they’re there to watch out for. I get more ice chips. Eventually I get my glasses and phone and stuff, take some pills, get some lunch. Lunch consisted primarily of some cream of asparagus soup, which was actually quite good, and some orange juice, which hurt. And some milk and ice cream and some warm tea.

At some point I’m given a new gown and apparently SOP up there is to drape another gown around your shoulders. Mine is blue and I wear it tied around my neck like a Superman cape. I want one of those for wearing around the house.

Somewhere between pre-op and the ward, my left bootie has worked itself off my foot and the aide goes looking for it in the bedclothes while I try to lever myself to my feet, and take myself to the washroom without falling over or getting dizzy or anything. (Over the course of the afternoon, I figure out that I’m one of only two remotely ambulatory patient in this ward.) I figure out how to work the bed, and the table, and the IV stand. I read a comic book on the phone and doze.

More pills, then dinner is some really mediocre cream of carrot soup (didn’t care for the texture, and could really have done with some pepper or something. But since I’m supposed to avoid anything spicy for a while it’s probably just as well), warm tea, chocolate pudding and pineapple juice. I decide to skip the pineapple juice, having learned my lesson with the orange juice earlier. I do try some milk. I really don't like milk.

I make it to the bathroom again a couple of times over the course of the evening, and every time I end up looking around for my left bootie. It just won’t stay on. Around 9:30, I’m given two Tylenol 3 with codeines and told I can go to sleep. Per doctor’s orders, I’m on oxygen overnight, no CPAP. I haven’t really slept without my CPAP machine since September 2009. And I still haven’t really. Dozed some, didn’t really sleep all night.

I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever codeine is supposed to do to you doesn’t happen for me. Morphine either. I had codeine in high school for a really bad skin rash on my legs. A friend of mine got a chemical burn in her eye, and they gave it to her too. She got so dopey on it that they sent her home from school. I drove her on the same dosage of codeine. Now granted, I was fat in high school, but still. Just after grad school I had a back spasm, ended up in the emergency room was given, among other things quite a bit of morphine. I think, over the course of the morning, a whole grain. At least half. On M*A*S*H, when they amputated your leg, you got a quarter grain. And it didn’t really get me to the point where I could move or stand.

So one of the things that kept me occupied all night was the constant struggle to keep my left bootie on. The soreness, the breathing panic, the orange juice will probably fade. The memory of that stupid left bootie will linger.

Anyway, so this morning, I met my LPN student, Sam, who was going to take care of my discharge. There are vitals, pills, instructions, discussion of when and who is someone going to pick me up. Breakfast consists of a tray of food I couldn’t eat owing to the injunction against foods that need to be chewed or crunched. I had some scrambled eggs, which turn out to be the same texture as what’s left of my uvula so that was an adventure. It came with a mini-bagel (no chewing), cereal (no crunchy food), some coffee, and more milk. At some point another tray appears, this one with more or less the same stuff, but I snag the yogurt cup, which turns out to be key lime. I make it through about a third before the acidity of the yogurt, or the lime, starts to get to me, so there you go.

Good news is that this morning at 7am, my blood sugar was 7.0. It was 10.1 and 11.something all day yesterday. 7.0 is an almost normal human fasting blood sugar, and is certainly the lowest non-hypo-feeling blood sugar I’ve seen in a while. So maybe portion control really is the key.

So there’s a walk around the floor, discharge orders, post-op orders, calls to the doctor for follow up stuff, and Sam walks me through everything well. My buddy Heather from work comes about 10am to pick me up, and she takes me home. The clock radio is still on, so apparently I didn’t put it on sleep yesterday at 5:30 when I got up.

Anyway, before I settle into taking it easy, I had to dash to the store to fill a couple prescriptions and pick up some liquid Tylenol (which I've been advised to try before resortin to the prbably useless Tyl3w/codeine). Liquid Tylenol only comes in children’s varieties and flavors, so I got grape. Also an antibiotic, we believe as protection from potential infection. I've also checked the proportion of peroxide (in the form of a rinse called Peroxyl) relative to what you get in a bottle of peroxide. So Peroxyl is 1.5% H2O2, where hydrogen peroxide is 3%. So my tablespoons of peroxide in a cup of water becomse a tablespoon of Peroxyl in a half cup of water.  With which I will rinse twice a day until told to stop. Or something like that.

So two things: 1) Since I woke up yesterday I've noticed that I have a funny numb spot on my lower lip. Like most of the left side, not quite to the corner. Sam says it happens when you've been anesthetized that sometimes some small patch of somewhere stays numb, sometimes for weeks. So we'll just see. 2) I'm enjoying and iced coffee from Starbucks that I picked up while waiting for my prescriptions. While there I discovered that the thing that I thought was a knot or something in my hospital gown that I couldn't move from my left side back was one of those electrodes Ricardo put on me. I have vague memory of them being removed, but not by who or when.

So the plan now is to take it easy for the weekend. There's coconut-ice-milk-sicles and cups of vanilla Haagen-Dasz in the freezer, some vanilla pudding and apple sauce in the fridge, and some rice to make okai, or okayu, which is basically rice gruel that requires no chewing and can be eaten luke warm and is a staple of Japanese-American sickbed food.  And for when I feel like I need an actual meal with protein and fiber in it, there's some Glucerna. So here I go taking it easy.