Mother-in-Law

Susie & Persephone

Satan should be her name
To me they’re bout the same

Ha! Just kidding, Susie.

Though I love to tease her with the lyrics to Ernie K-Doe’s big #1 hit, in fact my mother-in-law’s visit was very pleasant.

In fact, her timing was perfect. She arrived just when I was coming down with this nasty bacterial infection, and by the time she left yesterday I was bouncing back. (In fact I was well enough Friday to send Xy and her mother out for a night on the town while I babysat. The lump on my neck seems to be diminishing slowly.) It might have been a very difficult week without Susie’s help.

Plus she cleaned up our kitchen to a level previously not thought possible. We can actually get to the closet now.

Closet

Thanks, Susie.

Thank You Thank You Thank You

When we tally up the list of people who’d helped us out or given us stuff recently, it’s quite impressive. More than sixty. I didn’t know we had so many well-wishers.

Thank You Thank You Thank You

We’ve been trying to make sure everybody gets a card to express our gratitude. And slowly, slowly, we’re sending them out. I really hope we didn’t miss anyone.

Thanks for the help, everyone. It’s truly humbling to be the recipient of so much love.

Fever Dream

The only good thing about a fever is the weird dreams they produce. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to remember a one, until last night — and my fever is much abated, so this might not qualify, but it was awfully vivid.

All I’ve retained is this final scene. There was an epic, convoluted backstory that I can’t recall for the life of me.

Envision a landscape of massive multi-colored cones, tall as mountains. Each cone is in fact a gargantuan skyscraper, an arcology, with a metropolis hidden inside.

There we sat, my friends and I, perched high on the side of a cone, for each cone was steeply stair-stepped. The cones thus appeared to be formed of thousands of rings, steeply racked. Each step was about three feet tall, but only a foot deep, and a slightly different shade than the ring above or below it.

I’m not sure what we were doing there, having a picnic I suppose, and enjoying the view, which was tremendous. There was a general spirit of celebration, tied up with the events that found us there, the backstory I can’t remember.

One of our party, a young woman I didn’t particularly care for, had fallen asleep. As we talked and laughed and sang songs, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was slipping over the edge.

Before any of us could spring to her aid, she had fallen to the next step, and the next, and the next. She was awake and flailing now, but unable to stop her fall. We watched in horror as she slid down a thousand layers of the cone.

Then she hit some kind of wire threshing mechanism, invisible from our distance, and we saw her limbs and head all fly in separate directions.

It was awful. That’s when I woke up. And I thought to myself, “I didn’t like her, but she deserved far better than that.”

Ciprofloxacin

The Ciprofloxacin is so effective it’s scary. Within an hour or two of taking the first dose, I felt worlds better. As my friend MF noted, you can feel it at work in your body. Rumbling throughout the digestive tract. I feel like I’ve dropped a nuclear bomb in my colon. And I can literally feel my body crying out for water after a dose. Then weird waves of cold and heat.

The doc called with the results of my bloodwork. As with most medical professionals, he expressed amazement at my cholesterol numbers and told me to thank my parents. (Thanks, Mom & Dad!) No diabetes, no mono, but (most relevant to the matter at hand) a high white blood cell count. That’s evidence of bacterial infection, and that’s good news, since that was the theory behind taking the Ciprofloxacin.

As for the giant lump on the side of my neck, it hasn’t reduced in size, but at least it hasn’t gotten any bigger.

Lump

It still hurts, but a little Ibuprofen helps with that.

About 17 or 18 years ago I had a lymph node on the other side of my neck that swelled up and never went down. Eventually I had it excised and biopsied. (It was benign.) Hopefully this one will just return to normal in good time.

Copeland Ha Muerto

Yesterday Al Copeland died at the tender age of 64. Outside New Orleans he was primarily known as the founder of Popeyes Fried Chicken. Around the local area he was known for all sorts of things, but most of all for being a character.

My only real connection to Al is this: The judge he bribed in his custody case is the son of the old man who owns the house across the street from us.

I did feel a special pang of sympathy when I learned that Mr Copeland died from cancer of the salivary glands. Considering the current size of the gland on the right side of my neck — well, it gives a fellow pause.

The doctor has upgraded me to a stronger antibiotic (Cipro). He also stuck his finger down my throat and couldn’t feel an abcess so I guess that’s good news.

Cachao No Ha Muerto

Yesterday, when I was feeling like I wanted to die, someone named Israel Lopez was dealing with the real thing. Better known as Cachao, this Cuban dude basically invented the mambo and a few other Latin genres besides. I don’t really know that much about him, and I’ve never seen the film about him that I’ve heard exists, but I will never forget the first time I heard “El Son No Ha Muerto,” on WTUL. It’s not a mambo, it’s son, a old Cuban genre I didn’t even know existed. The title means “The Son Has Not Died.” It remains one of my favorite pieces of music, and I can think of no better tribute to the passing of Cachao than this fine song. Listen, then buy.

As for me, I’m still feverish and miserable with the lump in my neck growing to an alarming size — but I do feel better than yesterday.

I’m Sick and I Want to Die

I’m sick as a dog. Barely able to think coherently. No snot, no congestion, just a fever, with attendant chills and sweats and borderline delirium. Every inch of my body aches. There’s a gland (lymph node?) on the right side of my neck that’s swollen and painful — painful only on the outside, not inside my throat. Doc’s got me on Erythromycin ES. No nausea, but also no appetite. If I wasn’t relatively sure I’ll get better eventually, the Big Sleep would be pretty attractive. That’s how miserable I am.

And as an added bonus, my mother-in-law is visiting for a week. Cue K-Doe.

One Month

Persephone, light of my life, flesh of my flesh, code of my code. You are one month old today. You don’t do much except sleep and feed and excrete. I thought it would be a lot more work to take care of you, but you’ve been pretty easy so far. (Your mother might have a different opinion, since she’s the one who actually has to feed you every couple hours or so.) You are growing before our eyes. You have barely begun to assert yourself as a person, but I am dazzled by your potential. I love to hold you in my arms and dream of what you might be some day, what you might do. I don’t know what the future holds for you. I don’t particularly care if you’re the strongest, the fastest, the smartest, the most beautiful, the most prosperous, or whatever. I merely hope that you get a chance to fulfill a good fraction of your potential, which is so vast as to be virtually without limit.

Fat & Pimply

Persephone weighed in yesterday at 7 lbs, 5 oz. That means she gained 22 oz. in 12 days. The doctor congratulated Xy on getting off to a great start with the breastfeeding, which was a bit challenging at first.

Everything’s been pretty much optimal except she’s had an outbreak of baby acne. Sometimes it looks fairly innocuous and other times it looks pretty ugly. I understand it’s very common and there’s no need to treat it. However, a couple of zany treatment suggestions have been dabbing the afflicted areas with breast milk… or baby urine. Strange but true!

Happy Birthday Mom

Today’s my mom’s 70th birthday. I usually call her on the telephone but I can’t because right now she’s in Cambodia, part of a short-term mission team with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. I’m somewhat envious, but hopeful that when I’m 70 I will have the means and health to visit faraway places. Many happy returns, Mom.

Recycling Survey

A neighbor alerted me to a recycling survey, from the city’s Dept. of Sanitation, on the department’s website (halfway down the page).

www.cityofno.com/Portals/Sanitation/portal.aspx

It has to be printed and mailed, so I wouldn’t call it an online survey. (A print version, for mailing in, was “prominently” placed in yesterday’s Times-Picayune, on the next-to-last page of the Picayune section.) I printed a copy and started filling it out, but this question stopped me in my tracks:

If the City offered curbside recycling, would you be willing to pay a portion of the cost? If so, how much?

The multiple choice answers range from “Nothing” to “Over $10 per month” with some increments in between.

The reason this give me pause is that we are currently paying a private company $15 per month to pick up our recycling. But how much would we be willing to pay for a City service? I don’t trust this administration, especially when it comes to waste disposal.

Regardless of the trust issue, I feel like municipal recycling should be funded by all taxpayers and available to all residents at no extra charge. Make it easy as possible to participate; that’s the way to get the broadest participation. So I’m checking “Nothing.”

Baby Dreams

Xy has had a trio of weird dreams over the last couple nights.

In the first, she dropped our girl three times in a row, banging her little head on the floor. She was weak from the c-section and couldn’t hold her properly.

In the second dream, Xy was nursing a tiny baby (not our girl) and accidentally bit the top of its head off.

And in the final dream, Xy was nursing an absurdly tiny baby (again, not our girl) and accidentally ate her. I guess the baby just jumped in her mouth and got swallowed.

The High Cost of Birthing

We got the receipt from Tulane University Hospital & Clinic’s Healthcare Payment System. For the record, we racked up $2,484.00 in room charges (two nights’ stay) and a whopping $16,499.28 in “ancillary” charges.

But we have group insurance through our employers. We actually paid $250 and just got billed for $170 more.

I can’t even begin to imagine how we’d cope without insurance. These charges would add up to more than half of Xy’s annual salary. That’s absurd.

Update: The hospital sent a follow-up bill. After insurance, we owed an additional $463.28.

Update: (April 30) The anesthesiology group sent their bill for over $4,000. We owe $536.72.