Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Well, Dad had his surgery this morning, and thus far all's well. He's due home in three to five days, and it looks like everything's benign so far. Keep your fingers crossed...

On an unrelated side note, it snowed more today. Judging by what's left when we got home, we had to have at least half an inch of accumulation of icy snow. My sister and I threw snowballs on the way into the house, just because it had snowed enough to allow for snowballs on April 20.

Wonder what the weather for summer will be like, if things are this screwed up in April...

MONDAY UPDATE - Saw Dad this morning, and he's doing much better; he might be home as early as tomorrow. And the doctor apparently told him that everything has officially come back negative, so he's in the clear. (Still not sure what they intend to do about the screwy meds, but at this point it's a secondary consideration.)

TUESDAY UPDATE - Well, this afternoon his lower intestines woke up... which brought a bit of blood. The doctor seemed to think this is normal post-op stuff, and I do, too; his colon was cut into, and it's just now starting to come back online, so there's bound to be a little "clearing" to deal with. They did do a blood draw to be sure his blood levels are normal, and he's still having nausea issues, but I still feel that this will resolve positively. Good energy is still appreciated, if you have any to spare...

WEDNESDAY UPDATE - Today, after finally getting a night's sleep without being woken for this or that procedure, Dad felt much better. He still doesn't have too much of an appetite, and he's still passing a little blood when his lower intestines do their thing, but he's keeping food down and he's been disconnected from his various tubes and IVs and such. So, barring unforeseen complications, he looks to be home tomorrow or Friday.
And next time I update, I probably ought to open a new post instead of editing this one.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Saturday Morning Report

Okay, the doctor called today to explain more of what's going on. To summarize:

1 - They looked at his liver because, if it was colon cancer, that's one of the places it goes.

2 - They saw an "irregular spot" there on the CAT scan, but from the MRI (better at seeing soft tissues) they think it's most likely a blood vessel thing which livers do now and again.

3 - They still don't thing there's anything metastatic wrong, but they don't know precisely what the intestine thing is except it needs to go.

4 - They hope to operate tomorrow morning.

Oh, and as of five minutes ago, it was snowing here. Again. (Up north they got three inches on the ground...)

SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE - The surgery's scheduled for Sunday morning. If anyone out there happens to read this between now and then, good vibes would be appreciated.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Night Update on Dad

So, he talked to the surgeon this evening, and he just called to say he'd been taken to a "surprise" MRI, because someone had some concern about his liver.

Not his liver.

Dear God, not his liver.

He's been on conflicting meds for a few months, so maybe that would do something...

They didn't tell him if they saw anything or not (typical doctor), but the surgeon still didn't seem too concerned (evidently), at least about the intestinal "thing."

So any well-wishes, prayers, or positive energy you have laying around and don't know what to do with...

Oh, and it's snowing. In late April. Actual, stick-to-the-ground snow, with a haillike hiss to it as it falls.

I don't like this snow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Quick Update on Dad

Okay, so they did their varying scans from either end, and the upshot is they found a small something which they believe was the original source of the bleeding. They wouldn't have even thought to look if his blood thinner levels hadn't been roughly double what they were supposed to be. The surgeon wasn't too concerned, but they're taking the thing out on Friday and biopsying it anyway.

If there's one thing I learned from my medical transcription training, it's that growths/polyps on intestinal walls are fairly common. If there's something I learned from 2005, it's that when a surgeon isn't especially concerned about something scary, odds are in your favor that it's not as scary as it looks. So putting these two things together, I'm hopeful that, once again, 2008 will manage to be cruddy without being quite as terribly cruddy as it could be.

I went to see him this evening, as visiting hours at the hospital are apparently 24/7, and he looked much better than he looked at the ER... better, perhaps, than he'd looked for a while even before the ER.

Keepin' my fingers crossed... any extra positive energy ya got could be channeled his way, today...

Oh, on the med balance issue, it sounds like an impossible battle. They want him on blood thinners (as mentioned before) but they also want him on vitamin K for bone thinning, and vitamin K is what they gave him to promote clotting before his procedures. Dad asked the doctor, and sure enough, his meds are working against each other. I have no idea how they intend to resolve this, or if they intend to resolve it, but at least we're starting to figure out what the heck's going on with his all-over-the-chart levels.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Almost Forgot It Was 2008

Things were going along fairly well. I'd sold more drums*, I'd started getting back on track in my budget, and I'd even started wading slowly back into the deep and treacherous currents of writing. Then came today, or rather this afternoon.

Dad has recently been put on several different, sometimes conflicting meds to deal with a heart issue that's cropped up with age. At least one of them is a blood thinner. On Sunday, without going into unnecessary detail, he noticed blood where there ought not be any. Monday it was worse. Today, it was tapering off, but he still went in to the doctor's, suspecting some issue with his newest med schedule. It seemed like a routine visit - they scheduled him for an appointment tomorrow. Then they called back; the doctor decided they'd rather see him right away.

Red flag time.

Before he left, I demanded Dad describe for me just where this doctor's office was, having never been there and suspecting (in the paranoid corner of my mind that still remembers the latter days of 2005 with terror) I'd have to find it if the doctor didn't want him driving home. Just a precaution, I told myself. Then, at about 5:15, the phone rang.

Another red flag.

I had a brief flashback to another phone call, received in the aforementioned latter days of 2005. So it was with some hint of trepidation that I listened for the answering machine to reveal who was speaking. Yes, it was Dad. They wanted him to go to the local ER (fortunately we have one on our side of the lake) for issues relating to possible internal bleeding and disturbing med levels in his blood. (Now, Dad has told them and told them that he reacts strongly to meds - a little for him almost invariably goes a long, long way - but it takes this to get them to take him seriously, I suppose...) Oh, and someone ought to come along to take home his car, as they refused point-blank to let him drive himself.

The downside of being a pessimist is being right...

So off we went, Mom, my sister, and I, in the trusty Taurus up to the doctor's office. I was amazed at how much the place had been built up even in the five-odd years since I used to drive that way to work. Nevertheless, we found him and headed down to the ER for more tests and more waiting.

I swear, someone needs to do a study on time in hospitals. It can be simultaneously the longest and shortest span of one's life.

Okay, to cut a four-and-a-half hour long wait short, the outcome was the following:

1 - Dad is in a local hospital. Half the wait at least was finding an area hospital with an open bed. For unknown reasons which even the doctors couldn't describe (and obviously weren't happy about, as Dad wasn't the only patient needing a bed tonight), hospital space is at a premium right now. I wonder if the mortgage crisis has forced patients who would once have been treated and streeted to rent out their hospital rooms in lieu of hunting for the mythical affordable housing in this area.

2 - His blood issues had stablized and evidence of internal GI bleeding had tapered off, which is Good. They still aren't sure where it was coming from, which isn't so good, but since he'd recently passed a full physical with fair, if not flying, colors, I figure it's something relatively minor aggravated to unnecessary prominence by his cruddy med dosages.

3 - The outcome of all this is that they need to rebalance his meds. He needs blood thin enough not to cause turbulence and potential clots with his heart issues, but not so thin as to cause more bleeding issues. To do this, they need him in-house where they can keep a constant watch on his blood numbers. Besides, with his blood thinned the way it is, if he started bleeding anywhere they'd have a hell of a time stopping it, and they would much, much rather him be in a hospital in such an event.

Oh, and a bonus 4 - After a long day's wait for news in the ER, dinner at Denny's tastes extra flavorful.

When we left (on our way to Denny's, because there was nothing else we could really do tonight by sitting around), he was about to be loaded into the ambulance for the trip up to his bed; he called about half an hour ago with his room info. So now I can sleep knowing my dad is being watched over and cared for properly... and maybe now they'll start listening when he says his meds seem screwy.

* - Since I'm updating my blog anyway and wanted to end on a more pleasant note, I thought I'd post the pics of my latest drums for anyone who doesn't frequent my usual message board haunt. The first two were by request, and the last done for the store because I would never have the opportunity again...
Lioness, Tiger, and Bear... Oh My! And since my previous post, I sold another drum: the gryphon. Both it and the wolf were bought by someone from Sweden, so I've officially gone international. The only two left in the store are the bobcat and the bear, so I gotta get painting again... was going to start up this weekend, but we'll see how family's doing first.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Skyhaven Disclaimer and Related Thoughts

Today, I recieved an e-mail from an outfit called Skyhaven Games (henceforth in this blog entry to be known as "SG".) They wanted me to post a disclaimer on Skyhaven Adoptions (henceforth referred to as "SA") stating that my site is not affiliated with theirs. Since launching SA eight to ten years ago, longer if you count the brief time it was an appendage to my nearly-defunct original site (Realm of the Bright Dreamers, now Dreamspire Castle), I have never been confused with anything remotely official or professional. In fact, I have never heard of this company until this afternoon when I checked my Inbox. Curiosity getting the better of me, I tried clicking the SG link in their signature, but evidently their official site is a Proboards messageboard which requires one to create an account to even view. I wasn't that desperate to know who or what they were, but a Google search hints that SG may be some sort of trading card outfit. (Might've been fun to look at, but there are only so many hoops I'll jump through to view a site.) In any event, I replied telling them that I'll have the disclaimer up within a week, which is apparently fine with them. Unfortunately, the disclaimer will be the only new material ready to go with the update.

So, what's up with SA? Is it dying? Is it already dead? There was a time when I wouldn't even entertain the notion, that I'd cling tooth and claw to my sites, but times march on and some things fall behind, intentionally or not.

SA is not dead, at least not yet. It has, however, been in a state of suspended animation, and looks to remain there for a month or so more at the very least. Why? A number of reasons.

First up, I want to teach myself Dreamweaver and make the switch away from FrontPage. (Not only is FrontPage no longer supported by Microsoft, but it's always been considered a poor cousin to Dreamweaver in the web community, burdened with extra code and other crud.) This might require me to rebuild my sites - all of them - from the ground up once I get Dreamweaver installed. Naturally, the fewer pages to convert, the more likely I'll do it, so I've been holding off on site expansions until I get the time and gumption to start Operation Dreamweaver Transfer. Since this SG issue has come up, I'm actually considering going a bit further than simply rebuilding if/when I transfer; maybe it's time to change the name and rework the entire SA concept from the ground up, as Brightdreamer Adoptions or something else.

The second reason is one that's dominated a few blog entries already: the painted drums. Since my November launch, I've sold seven out of ten drums, and I currently have two more requests waiting at my workbench which will bring to total up to nine out of twelve. I've also been told that at least one other area shop would be very interested in carrying my stuff on consignment (the owner saw a drum and said she'd happily carry them), which of course would require me building up more of an inventory. My success here has led to further experiments in other things I could make to sell; the current front-runner is a spirit shield idea, which should be easier to paint more stylized designs on (being a flat, single-sided surface; as much tension as I manage to get on the drums, I still have enough give in the canvas to make tracing and painting a hard, crisp line difficult.)

Third, I've been trying to take my ideas and make them into actual stories or story roots, rather than simply batting them about, which is what most of SA was all about: a holding pen for creatures and ideas, a place to play with them.

And fourth, sadly, I'm just not seeing as much return on my efforts at SA as I used to. The click-and-take cyberpet community isn't what it used to be. More and more are moving into interactive pets, creating them or just playing with them. While I'm sure, given enough time and dedication, I could probably create a more interactive SA, I have no desire to ride herd on the kind of people such communities inevitably attract, the hackers and the whiners and the abusers and the trolls. SA was always more of a laid-back place. The challenges, the Hunt and so forth, were things to be completed at one's own time, in one's own pace, at one's own discretion. Creating content was more fun when I was reasonably certain I had an audience that might enjoy it. Granted, being stagnant for half a year isn't the way to keep people coming back, but still...

Now, the bell has not yet tolled on the fate of SA. I am still building myself back up to template work; actually, if I get the spirit shields up and running, I may be able to work them to dual advantage, using templates for SA as linework for the shields and vice versa. I still want to get the Hunt back up to something approaching its former glory, and if nothing else I harbor dreams of creating/recreating more critters. One thing SA will always be good at is helping me explore beasts and beings in a way that one can rarely do even in a story setting, unless one wants to stop the narrative dead in its tracks. Somewhere in the back of my mind lingers an idea of using SA and the world I created for it (Tirialle) as a basis for short stories, which would contribute to another lifetime goal of mine (writing and finishing stories.) But there are only so many hours in a day, and only so many places one can focus one's attention at a given time if one wants to accomplish anything at all. For now, SA just isn't one of them.

So, anyway, that's where things stand at Skyhaven Adoptions. Still hibernating, still dreaming... and still waiting.