Got back safe and sound from the plains of Illinois yesterday. The drive was incredible. It seems we brought the balmy Georgian weather with us when we went up. For the whole time we were there, it stayed pretty much in the mid-30s to low-40s. However, this resulted in the pea-soup fog of doom driving back. And then for several hundred miles around the south edge of Illinois, we drove through an extensive, breathtaking lightning storm. I watched, wide-eyed and awed, as brilliant, HUGE zags of blinding white arced from cloud to cloud, illuminating the night sky. And the weird thing was, there was no thunder or rain to accompany it.
fosteronfilm and I take turns driving the long trip from Georgia to Illinois and back–he starts late in the evening, and I take over at around dawn (6:30ish). When it was time for my shift, it was still dark, and the storm had been going for hours. About fifteen minutes in, the lightning started hitting the ground–often several bolts simultaneously. At one time I counted five bolts striking in the distance, in synchrony. These brought thunder and rain, although the rain was fairly brief, which I was thankful for.
It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Left me feeling all solemn and reverent.
Christmas was lovely with the folks, as it always is.
Although there was some stress. Matthew’s father is quite ill, and he’s going in for a test and surgery next month. When we first heard about it, it sounded like they were going to do open heart, which freaked me out, as his dad is over 70 and has been struggling with health problems for years now. He’s not exactly a good candidate to crack open his ribs and put on a heart-lung machine. We had lots of questions, which we expected to have answered when we got there. However, upon trying to find out what was going on, we got confusion and conflicting information. There’s some denial going on there from his parents, which I understand as this is a terrifying experience for both of them, but I was feeling pretty frantic, not knowing, and them apparently unwilling to ask the questions they needed to from the surgeon. His mom thought he was going in for a “corroded” artery and we needed to explain to her that no, the doctor was undoubtedly referring to dad’s “carotid” artery.
They had a pre-surgery appointment yesterday, and they were unprepared for any sort of Q&A. Fortunately, his mom found in an envelope (written by hand, not one of the handouts people are supposed to get before surgery!) the name of what his dad’s going in for–an angiogram. Armed with that information and a couple key words (thickened valve and catheter), I hopped online and researched both angiograms and treatments for valvular stenosis. I surmised that they were actually planning to do a percutaneous transcatheter heart valve implantation which is a much less invasive and stressful procedure than standard open heart valve replacement, which they’ll do at the same time as they perform the angiogram (after using the angiogram to ascertain their diagnosis). I also printed out a several page article on angiograms, valvular stenosis, and questions one should ask one’s doctor before going in for treatments like these, and gave it to his folks to read. And Matthew told his mother in no uncertain terms that he expected her to call us after the pre-surgery appointment and be able to explain clearly what was going on next month. With that to spur them to ask questions, they went in and did indeed find out what was happening (and called us to report after).
As it turns out, my surmisal was correct, which I’m quite relieved about, as it’s a much less risky procedure overall than the alternative. Still, his dad is pretty sick, and I’m very worried about him. I absolutely adore his folks, and I cannot stand the thought of anything happening to them. Meep.
On the light and fluffy Christmas side, the loot was bountiful:
My hubby got me a Targus docking station and a cooling pad for my laptop (which I am sending to HP today or tomorrow to fix the spontaneous power-down problem). And for fun, because I am a silly, vain thing and spent time gazing wistfully at it when we saw it at the store, he also got me a hair streaking tool. Hee! I shall undoubtedly end up looking like Frankenstein’s Bride, but it washes out in a single shampoo, so any hair tragedies can be quickly remedied. And he also got me . . . socks! A ridiculously cute pair with a cat on it.
His folks got me Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees by Roger Fouts, Harry Potter: HBP, Hammered by matociquola, and socks–the cuteness continues with a dog face! His brother and his wife got me more socks (!) and got us a HUGE bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin. We also received a 4-piece luggage set, a pizza stone, and other useful and thoughtful prezzies.
Matthew’s brother, laid low by the Christmas puppy.
Matthew and his dad in typical conversation mode.
And a huge Thank You to dude_the who got me Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, teflaime who got me The 18th Annual Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed, and mouseferatu for Tithe by Holly Black (blackholly).
If I’m quiet on LJ for a while, it’s because I’m immersed, face down, in a book. Or perhaps absolutely sozzled on blue gin.
Did not get nearly as much writing or editing done as I had expected. I am way behind on Tangent work as well as my own writing “Things to Do” list. Playing catch-up.
Also dwelling upon my 2006 writing resolutions, a tradition I share with my DC2K writers group.
– Contrib. copies of issue #279 of 9. Next up (I hope), payment. Snazzy cover art: