Hobkin Update: Vet Says Just Keep Keeping On

Hobkin was pretty much the same yesterday, which is probably a good thing—so sayeth the vet. We called the vet, and he told us to keep Hobkin on the furosemide for a couple days to see if there’s improvement. If there’s not or if there’s any worsening, we bring him in. If there is, then we try taking him off the furosemide and see if he gets worse again.

In a nutshell:

If the furosemide is helping and Hobkin gets worse without it, it means fluid is accumulating in his lungs again, which is bad, because that means his cardiomyopathy is getting worse. Prognosis worrisome.

If the furosemide is not helping, chances are it’s an infection, probably a reprise of the one he had before which the amoxycillin didn’t completely wipe out—which isn’t a big deal as they’ve already cultured it and know what it is, and it’s of a variety that’s generally pretty responsive to antibiotic therapy. It might actually clear up by itself, and if not, treatment either with another course of (a different) antibiotic or an antibiotic injection should take care of it. Prognosis good.

Feels weird to hope that Hobkin has an infection, but there you go.

Hobkin Update: A Night of Fretting

Didn’t sleep much last night. Hobkin’s breathing has been erratic for the last couple days. There are periods where it’s extremely rapid, about twice as fast as normal—almost panting, except skunks don’t pant (at least Hobkin doesn’t)—and then it returns back to normal. And it doesn’t appear to be related to activity level.

Last night, his sides started heaving a little too. Not nearly as labored as in January, but enough to ramp up the worry. I would’ve liked to have started him on some oxygen therapy, but as luck would have it, (of course) Matthew returned the oxygen tanks on Tuesday. So at around 10:30 last night and after a lot of discussion, back-and-forth, and uncertain waffling, we decided to give Hobkin a dose of furosemide (the diuretic), since if it is fluid building up in his lungs again, I don’t want to wait until they becomes dangerously filled before treating him. The counter-concern is that with giving Hobkin furosemide, there’s the danger of him becoming dehydrated, which could be as life-threatening as pneumonia.

So we slipped Hobkin a furosemide tablet concealed in a blueberry, which meant he woke up every two hours to use the litter pan and I got up also to get him a little snack of veggies. Gotta push fluids and keep him hydrated and all. His appetite was excellent, thankfully, and he didn’t seem distressed—aside from having to use the bathroom every two hours—but I couldn’t tell whether there was any change in his breathing, good or bad. So Matthew’s going to watch him today and if Hobkin doesn’t get better or gets worse, it’s back to the vet we go.

Actually, even if Hobkin’s breathing does improve, we’ll probably need to visit the vet in order to discuss adjusting his medication dosages. If the furosemide helps, it means fluid’s definitely building up again, which means Hobkin’s heart meds aren’t working as well and need to be upped.

Gotta keep telling myself: “It’s not that serious. We can handle this. It’s not that serious.”

Sale to Dreams of Decadence and Author Q&A with Bards & Sages

Thanks for all the Nebula nom congrats from everyone! I’m thrilled, awed, and overwhelmed. Also keep having the urge to pinch myself, ‘cept that if this is a dream, I so don’t want to wake up.

In other news, made a sale with a sweet symmetry to it yesterday. Got an email from Angela Kessler, the editor of Dreams of Decadence (newly relaunched). Seems she still had one of my stories in inventory that she’d wanted to publish before D of D ceased publication back in 2006 and wanted to know if she could publish it in its new incarnation.

I said “Hell, yeah,” of course, and hence have sold a reprint of “The Few, the Proud, the Leech Corps” to her, slated for publication in their first new issue in July.

Also my weeklong author Q&A with Bards and Sages has started over in their forum. Swing by to say “hi,” gab, or even ask me a question.

Indiscreet Squeeage: “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest” is a Nebula Finalist

Now that it has been officially announced, I can elucidate upon the reason behind Wednesday’s squeeage (yeah, yeah, I know most of you figured it out already ). My novelette “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” made the Nebula ballot!

I am beyond overjoyed, beyond ecstatic; I’m just beyond. *SQUEE!!*

Herein all the nominees:

Short Story

* “Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Press, Jul09)
* “I Remember the Future,” Michael A. Burstein (I Remember the Future, Apex Press, Nov08)
* “Non-Zero Probabilities,” N. K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld, Nov09)
* “Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct09)
* “Going Deep,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jun09)
* “Bridesicle,” Will McIntosh (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan09)


* “The Gambler,” Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2, Pyr Books, Oct08)
* “Vinegar Peace, or the Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jul08)
* “I Needs Must Part, The Policeman Said,” Richard Bowes (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Dec09)
* “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb09)
* “Divining Light,” Ted Kosmatka (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Aug08)
* “A Memory of Wind,” Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com, Nov09)


* The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, Jun09)
* “Arkfall,” Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Sep09)
* “Act One,” Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Mar09)
* Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon, Feb09)
* “Sublimation Angels,” Jason Sanford (Interzone, Oct09)
* The God Engines, John Scalzi (Subterranean Press, Dec09)


* The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Nightshade, Sep09)
* The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak (Bantam, Nov08)
* Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman (Pocket, Oct09)
* The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey, May09)
* Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor, Sep09)
* Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland Press, Oct09)

Bradbury Award

* Star Trek, JJ Abrams (Paramount, May09)
* District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug09)
* Avatar, James Cameron (Fox, Dec 09)
* Moon, Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker (Sony, Jun09)
* Up, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar, May09)
* Coraline, Henry Selick (Laika/Focus Feb09)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

* Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon, Jul09)
* Ice, Sarah Beth Durst (Simon and Schuster, Oct09)
* Ash, Malinda Lo (Little, Brown and Company, Sep09)
* Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev (Feiwel and Friends, Jul09)
* Zoe’s Tale, John Scalzi (Tor Aug08)
* When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009)
* The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, Jun09)
* Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon, Oct09)

Congratulations all around!

Vienna Tang and Alex Wong

Matthew and I went to see Vienna Tang and Alex Wong in concert last night, with and thanks to the very thoughtful yukinooruoni. We’d never been to the venue, the Variety Playhouse, before. Its seating is a combination of theater and nightclub which is a surprisingly effective combination.

The show rocked, and I was particularly impressed by the versatility of Alex Wong, who played a series of different percussion instruments, as well as the piano in one number, and also sang backup. It was a delightful way to close out my Very Good Day yesterday.

Thank you Geoff! *mwaaa*

Nebula Zombie at the Capitol

Stayed up until the Nebula nomination period ended (!#$& PST timezone!) in a fit of nervous suspense, hitting refresh compulsively on the nomination tally poll. A couple eleventh-hour (literally) recs kept “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest” in the running (thank you, whoever you were!). Now waiting for the Nebula committee to tally the paper nomination ballots to see if “Sinner” made the final ballot.

I am so totally thrashed this AM. Not gonna be at my best at work today…and probably all this week. Final ballot comes out on the 20th.

Waiting is.

Jeff VanderMeer Gives Snaps to Returning My Sister’s Face in Locus

Was thrilled to see that Jeff VanderMeer included Returning My Sister’s Face in his lineup of the “Best of 2009” at Locus:

“Among collections by relatively new writers, I found Deborah Biancotti’s A Book of Endings, Eugie Foster’s Returning My Sister’s Face, and Cat Rambo’s Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight the most compelling.”
Jeff VanderMeer on The Best of 2009, Locus

And verily, there was much squeeage!

F is for Father, Phone, and Flum

Been pretty hammered at work this week; the legislative session is in full swing. But I was holding up a-ok—recuperating from Hobkin’s recent medical crisis and dealing with our pinched finances and all (to make the hefty vet bill even heftier, the powers that be have mandated three more furlough days for us, sigh)—until yesterday, when Matthew got a phone call from a friend of my stepmother’s.

“Stepmother?” I sez to him. “I don’t have a stepmother.” And then I dredged up a distant memory and recalled that, oh yeah, my dad remarried when I was in high school.

To ‘splain that: this information was not at the forefront of my mind because I have not seen or spoken to my father in twenty years. My last communication from him was something like eight years ago when he sent me an incoherent letter complaining that my mom was having the government dock his social security benefits for back child support and wanting me to do something about it.

Now, this is the man who took off when I was three and on our occasional father-daughter visits during my childhood did his very best to assure me that I simply wasn’t good enough at…anything and that my sole purpose in existing was to take care of him when he got old, while also asserting that the Chinese were the superior people and every other race was patently inferior. On the infrequent occasions that he’s tried to contact me since I became an adult, his communications have all been clumsy attempts to manipulate me into doing something for him, usually involving money.

Lessee, psychologically abusive bigot tries to use the fact that we share some DNA to manipulate me. Again. So, yeah, I ignored the letter and hadn’t heard from him since. But this whole being phoned out of the blue by a friend of my stepmother’s, and then subsequently by her, is all new. My first thought was: “Is my father dead? Dying? Really sick?”

But no. Seems not. Probably. More ‘splainy: there is a massive language barrier in play as neither my stepmother’s friend nor my stepmother speak English natively, and Matthew is, erm, not good with accents. And since I haven’t decided whether I want to speak to any of these people yet, all information is, by necessity, filtered through his limited understanding of their fractured English. But, according to him, Stepmother says that she called because she wanted me to get in contact with Dad because it’s Chinese New Year.


And with regard to the friend-of-stepmother thing, seems that friend works in some governmental place and so Stepmother asked him to track me down.

And again I say, WTF?

1. My father has my address. I know this, because he mailed a letter to me here.
2. I am plastered across the Internet. I’m a writer. I have a website. Google my name, there’s my website. Granted, when I married I changed my name, but I sent my dad an announcement when I got married, and also, if you Google my maiden name, it comes up with my address. And if you Google my address, it comes up with, tah dah, my website. I understand that folks of my parents’ generation may not be as Internet savvy as subsequent generations, but I’m really not hard to find.*
3. Why is Stepmother (and friend) trying to contact me instead of Dad?

So I am flummoxed. A lot. To the point that I couldn’t sleep last night. And I couldn’t figure out why this was bugging me so much until after much insomnia-induced rumination. I think I’m freaked out because for a moment, I seriously thought my dad was either dead or dying. And hell, he still might be—language barrier and all. And I honestly don’t know how I feel about the prospect, and it’s something I will eventually have to deal with. If I end up feeling upset, why will it distress me? If I don’t feel anything, will that bother me? Should I feel anything? Do I want to feel anything? Gah!

Thanks, Dad. What I really need right now is more stress because, y’know, I haven’t had enough of it lately.

* I thought about friends locking this post, but since the relatives in question couldn’t figure out how to email me via my website, I think it’s unlikely that they’ll discover my blog.

Hobkin Update: Vet Follow-up

Had a follow-up with the vet on Saturday. Hobkin’s recent medical crisis has not improved his fondness for the vet or the clinic. There was a lot of indignant huffing and snorting, which made me wonder if the vet would be able to get a good listen with his stethoscope. Apparently, good enough.

Hobkin’s lungs are completely clear, which the vet announced with no small amount of surprise. Hurray! But he also heard a mitral valve murmur. This is not surprising and is mostly indicative that Hobkin’s meds are working (improved heart contractility leads to more obvious indications and symptoms of the heart’s extensive dilation), but it’s something else we’ll need to keep an eye on.

Our vets are not exactly upbeat. One of them has said every time we’ve seen him (even for a routine check-up): “Y’know, skunks crash so suddenly and go downhill so fast.” So when the vet started talking long-term med acquisition—we can get up to a three-month supply of Hobkin’s pimobendan and enalapril—that’s tantamount to unbridled optimism.

Hey, I’ll take what I can get.