It’s Been Four Hours and 42 Days

It’s been six weeks today.

And I must say, it went down a lot easier than I expected. By now, the pain is gone, I’m sleeping almost perfectly fine, and my condition is slowly improving. Which is good, given the fact that we’re moving to our new house this Saturday. I’m excused from the heavy lifting, but still, seeing other people painting your house and putting the floors in, while all you can do is scurrying around, doing the odds and ends is quite frustrating.

After the move, I’ll have to see about riding a bike and getting around in busses and trains. And then, I’ll have to see about getting back to work. We’ll see.

For now, things are going great. And that’s good.

First Lines: Magic for Beginners

Most of the stories in Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners worked for me. Two didn’t. But the ones that did, mostly, made it work really well. Thing is, probably, that with a title like that, you automatically thing “Oh, she’s doing fantasy!” when actually, it’s a little bit more surrealistic.

I mean, a story about two clerks in an all-night convenience store trying out a new retail system doesn’t sound too out there. But when their main clientele consists of zombies from the chasm across the road, well … it gets weird. Likewise, losing your grandmother’s handbag, and then having to find it again, well, fine. But when the handbag contains a whole faery-land, including her husband, … well, it gets weird. And I like weird. At least, this kind of weird.

Book read
Kelly Link – Magic for Beginners
First line
I used to go to thrift stores with my friends. (from The Faery Handbag)

First Lines: The Strange Library

Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library is a strange little book. It tells the story of a lonely boy who went to the city library because he wanted to learn about tax collecting in the Ottoman empire–“Ever since I was little my mother had told me, if you don’t know something, go to the library and look it up”–and gets locked up. Together with a mysterious girl and a tormented sheep man, they plot their escape from the nightmarish library.

It’s surreal and dreamlike. You know that people don’t get locked up in subterranean library-cells required to learn books by heart, because their brains will get eaten if they fail. You know stuff like that doesn’t happen, but Murakami’s matter-of-fact tone sells it to you wholesale. Integral to the dreaminess is Chip Kidd’s design, and The New Yorker has more on that.

Book read
Haruki Murakami – The Strange Library (Fushigi na toshokan, translated by Ted Goossen, art direction and design by Chip Kidd)
First line
The library was even more hushed than usual.


It didn’t expect #80 on my list of 100 things to be that easy. But then again, when I made that list, I didn’t expect to be in a hospital for a week and a half.

Item completed
Spend a week without touching a computer
Period spend without touching a computer
February 25th, 2015 to March 10th, 2015

“And this, too, shall pass”

Two weeks ago today, I entered the hospital. This past Monday, I was sent home. Here is, roughly, what happened in between.

The operation where the goat-swallowing Boa Constrictor got replaced with a garden hose, started around 8 A.M. on Thursday, February 26th, and by, say, 3:15 P.M. I was on the ICU. I don’t have the exact details about how it went down–I slept through the whole thing–nor do I really want to know them, but apparently some additional fiddling around with my valves and aortic roots was required. Google the David Procedure if you want the bloody details. Legend has it that by 10 P.M. I was awake enough to request a phone call, but I have no memory of such an event.

I vaguely recall Medium Care. There was a woman brought in in the middle of the night, and she kept going on about her nicotine patches. Sometime Saturday morning I was moved again, this time to to a regular care unit. Until Wednesday evening, details are sketchy. An echo revealed some excess fluids around my heart, which needed to be drained. (Basically, they put a needle and a tube through your thoracic diaphragm. Which, somehow, hurts all the way down to the bones in your shoulder.) Tapping off roughly a liter and a half of what looked like tomato juice seemed to help a lot. That next Thursday morning, a week after the procedure, I was feeling a lot better.

However: me feeling better has no medical value whatsoever. Another echo was required. I waited for one all Thursday, and by the time we’d reached Friday evening, two echoes said there still were some fluids left, but that the drains weren’t quite draining them anymore. So they got to go out–a huge relief on my pour shoulders–I had to stay under observation over the weekend, and on Monday, well, we’d see what course to take based on what another echo would show.

Luckily, after perhaps the most boring weekend ever, the fluids were all but gone Monday morning, and I was sent home.

At the moment, I think I’m doing pretty damn well. Although the pain in my chest is more than manageable on some common pain killers, sleeping is still a struggle. During my stay in the hospital, I barely managed to get a decent night’s sleep. My chest hurt and was very uncomfortable, and those beds didn’t help either. Plus, there seemed to be some mental block. As soon as sleep got inevitable, I got all worked up. It’s getting better, and while it’s not like I’m awake all night, it sure feels like it.

At this point, I have to give a shout-out to the medical personnel and the lovely nursing staff at the Sint Antonius ziekenhuis, all the people who kept in touch, send a card and/or looked me up.

A super special shout out goes out to my parents, the boy wonder, and especially The Missus, without whom …, etc. etc. Luv you, babe.