This is one of my journal's many "channels."
This article on wisdom-teeth removal being a scam is the second one I've seen in a week. Perhaps people are starting to realize that wisdom teeth aren't a mistake? That some discomfort as they come in is to be expected?
I should note, though. that this doesn't affect me at all, I simply find it interesting (but not surprising). My wisdom teeth never grew in, at all. X-rays show nothing there, not even an aborted attempt at the teeth.
Also, I still have two primary molars. In both cases, my current dentist expressed surprise. Primaries aren't meant to last this long, but nothing grew under them to push them out and yet those old boys are perfectly healthy. He says the lack of any attempt at wisdom teeth is much rarer and he can't explain it. Maybe I'm not human?
My brother Jed came back East from BC for two weeks with his new family in tow, two weeks ago. We stayed at Steve Davis's house Tuesday night so I could drive them all to the airport before sunrise, Wednesday morning.
Stop-and-go traffic all the way to the airport, starting at 6am?! That's just wrong.
It was very hard to say goodbye to them all. Alycia is Jed's perfect counterpart, 4yo Michael is nearly his perfect clone (but cuter than he ever was), 4yo Rachel (M's twin) is quiet and sweet and very smart, and Gracie is curious, cuddly and learns to say new things faster than the parrots do. And repeats them more. Except for a very brief visit less than two years ago for Gil Riley's funeral, I haven't seen Jed in seven years, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried on my way back to Steve's house after saying goodbye at Logan.
Steve and I ate breakfast on their front porch and then dressed for the ride. It was to be surprisingly warm, and had rained a bit the night before so we were expecting more humidity. Before we left, we swapped my tires for the new ones I'd brought with me, then we were off.
3.7 miles into the ride, I was pulling and we were making a right. I remember thinking that it was nice of Steve to have the roads re-surfaced for our ride, and was going to say something like that to him eventaully. No, really, that's the last thing I remember about the ride. The next thing I remember is a very brief flash of the inside of an ambulance. "Huh, what's that now? Did I ride right into the back of an ambulance?" Then some jumbled stuff, and people repeatedly asking me stupid questions like, "What's your birthday?" and, "Who's the president?" over and over again. As if the president knows my birthday. Silly.
Corinne was there, somehow. It was like magic! She was ninety minutes away, at home. Probably cooking something delicious, hopefully thinking about me, definitely missing me! Then suddenly people are asking me too-repetitive questions and she's there in the room, in the background. Not sure how that happened.
I remember being put in a CT scanner. Then suddenly I was out of it again. Pretty sure there are two meanings there! I remember asking for water, and being told NO. Then being given water in the form of ice. Whatever, it's water. Why'd you say no? Now your pants are on fire!
I told them they wouldn't find anything looking my head with that thing. Clearly I was right.
Shots and other violations? Plenty. They put an IV in my left arm. "Just for fluids." At some point I pointed out something pointedly obvious, and they agreed with me and detached it because I'm a genius, and they let me have more not-water-because-it's-ice. And a tetanus shot in my right arm that I barely felt. The local anesthetic shot in the skin next to my eye so skinny doctor could put stitches in my eyelid? Most painful part of the day and I still haven't forgiven her. Not sure how injecting a cocktail of lemon juice and burning gasoline into my skin is supposed to numb the pain, but I was Mr. Tough Guy and didn't let on that my inner child was now hiding behind the headboard in his room and moaning in delirious, tortured agony. Bad doctor.
She said she liked me, though, because I was… something. Funny? Sassy? Steve, help me out here, I can't remember. Probably not funny, nobody thinks I'm funny.
Oh, I called this "tally," so here's my tally of momentos (keepsakes, even) from my shortest ride of the year:
Four or five stitches on my right eyelid. Skinny doctor was soooo confident that I won't have scars like I got from the other stitches in my childhood. Yeah, I'm going to be disfigured for life.
Black right eye.
My ears are so small and tucked in close to my head that the road just couldn't reach them. Undamaged! You missed a spot, so maybe next time, suckah! Nyah nyah!
Bruise and road rash on my right shoulder and right forearm just below the elbow. The bruise on my right shoulder is deep, moving that arm generates funny noises from my mouth. Odd, huh?
Scraped all the primary knuckles on my right hand.
Matching holes at the middle knuckles of both thumbs. Nobody can figure that one out, so I'm guessing I was sliding along the ground with both thumbs up like the Fonz (as he jumped the shark).
What feels like a watermelon stuck to my right leg just below the hip. It's not actually a watermelon, it's just a giant bag of hurt. The hospital was fresh out of real watermelon.
Road rash on my right knee.
A bruised and dislocated rib on — wait, can you guess? — the right side. Bruised as in "huh, that hurts to touch it, but not like it's broken. I know broken!" Dislocated as in, "I don't think it's supposed stick out from my sternum like that. And when I cough it hurts worse than the watermelon!" No external bruising there, though. Ellyn says it's because of all my rolls of fat. (I got those from the almost 3,000 miles of cycling this year.)
How did it happen?
How does anything happen, really? Forces interacted with masses at surfaces, and effects were generated.
In this case, I went around a corner, slid on a new crosswalk wet with rain, and the bike hit the ground. Me, too!
Steve went down behind me, even though he "strongly affirms" (he never swears) that it's not possible for him to lose traction with his diamond-spiked, sticky-as-bug-trapping-spider-silk tires. Which means he saw me go down and did what any friend would do and ran me over, then fell halfway across and kicked me in the eye with his cleats. He got a booboo on his right knee and right elbow. The poor guy.
Note that I have no memory whatsoever of the crash as it actually happened, so I'm trusting Steve's recounting of the story… which conveniently did not include anything about running me over and kicking me, nor him getting a ride home with the very pretty police officer that was directing traffic just up the road. So I probably made that all up.
So, congratulations! Now you understand what happened yesterday at least as well as I do.
The short answer to the question, “Hey, Seth, you look like you tried to swallow a baseball and it got stuck! Did you?” is, in fact, "Hah! No."
I don't blame you for wondering, though. The list of weird stuff that people unintentionally or unknowingly swallow starts with spiders and then gets weird. A baseball wouldn't be much of a stretch.
The long answer is as follows.
Saturday I worked at the hall with about a third of the ecclesia, cleaning up both inside and outside. We'd let the brush encroach on the yard a bit (a lot) too much, so most of my time was spent outside.
After stacking all of the chairs in the main room so that Darren and Ravi could vacuum, I went out to help with brush cleanup.
Or so I thought. Instead of brush, I cleaned up trees. I used Frank's chainsaw to cut down one tree to the right of the shed, then I climbed a ladder and cut a large branch from another tree.
After all the cutting, I dragged the trees and branches down to the parking lot, across the newly cleared spot behind the lot, all the way out to and over the stonewall.
I've done a lot of this kind of work. Really.
But I remember thinking, when I was dragging the largest piece, "Oh man this is the heaviest thing I've ever moved." I managed, though there were a few times that I drove my feet into the ground instead of moving the tree.
Later, Frank asked me to take down another tree which was already behind the stone wall. This one was much taller but wouldn't have to be dragged. Bonnie requested that I cut it up so they could take it home for burning, so I did, then I threw the logs out to the parking lot so she could gather them. (Nobody had a wheelbarrow or tractor.)
I was surprised at how totally exhausted I was by this point. In fact, I was nervous while cutting up that tree, as I was so tired that my hands felt weak and shaky. I'm comfortable with a chainsaw, but if I had continued to feel that way I would have put it down for the day.
Sunday morning I was still a bit tired, and my back was sorer than I expected. Not very surprising.
Monday morning, shortly after getting out of bed, I noticed that my back was still quite sore. Plus, I had a gigantic lump at the bottom of my neck! (Not *quite* big enough to actually be a baseball, but close enough. Certainly larger than a golf ball.)
Corinne starts trying to find an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor to see me soon. She's thinking I have some freakish cancer that, at the rate this thing grew in, will eat me whole within a couple of weeks. First appointment she gets is for Friday in Mystic, but later she gets one with Dr. Cameron today (Tuesday).
I figured it's a swollen lymph node (which means I have an infection). I've had them a couple of times before, though the only one this big was in my armpit in my early teens. A search on WebMD and eMedicineHealth seems to confirm my Nearly Professional Diagnosis, though I wasn't comforted by the warning that if the swollen node is immediately above the collarbone then medical attention should be immediately sought. (That is when Corinne found the appointment for Tuesday. She didn't like that warning either.)
With my back still hurting and feeling generally weak and maybe feverish, I take my Ibuprofen and try to work.
Tuesday morning my back hurt a little less, but the ball in my throat is as big and hard as ever. I feel slightly clumsy, but I figure that goes with feeling generally weakened. I'm also having a very hard time remembering the words "lymph node," so clearly the fever is affecting my brain.
Tuesday afternoon I go to see Dr. Cameron. He walks into the exam room and asks why I'm there. I lean my head back a bit and point, and he says, "Oh, you have a swollen thyroid!"
"Really? I thought it was a lymph node." He asks me to swallow.
"Nope, it's the thyroid. It's connected to your larynx, so it moves when you swallow. The lymph node would stay put. Same spot, though."
Now I'm worried. My grandmother had some significant thyroid issue at some point, but I don't remember what.
"Have you done any strenuous activity in the last few days?"
With that one question, all the stress of the last couple days evaporated. He clearly knew exactly what was wrong with me, and the way he asked the question clearly implied this was a common(-ish) problem.
So I explained what I had done, and he agreed that moving that one tree was probably what did it. I ruptured a blood vessel in my thyroid, and it swelled up with blood. Overnight it hardened when the blood coagulated.
It's called a Chocolate Cyst, because of the consistency of what it contains. Mmmm, like a nice blood pudding!
The treatment? Wait a couple of weeks for it to soften up, which means the coagulated blood has turned into a thick, oily liquid. He'll then tap and drain it right through the skin, in his office. He says it will never go down on its own.
By now you're surely wishing you'd stuck with the short answer, but at least now you can be sure that I did not, in fact, swallow a baseball.
A friend called Corinne today (on her birthday!) and asked, "Please fatten me up?!" (referring to herself). I think she wants to look more matronly.
(Personally, I think the children she's corralling do a fine job of matronizing her, but nobody asked for my opinion!)
1. This may be the best birthday present Corinne ever gets.
2. She came to the right place!
3. This friend may not realize what she's in for. Seriously, buy the larger clothes before she delivers your first meal, or you'll have a major problem.
Ten years? Really?
In 2001 my work life was all about Conversant, my personal life was all about Corinne, Shane, and a house full of cats and birds.
I don't remember much about 2002, except that I reconnected with Steve Davis, someone I've known practically since I was a baby. We've always had our faith in common, and found that now we also have our bikes.
Two years later Shane was gone. That's all that year (2004) was about. Nothing else mattered. Hanging on to Corinne, propping her up, making sure she understood how much I love her and need her still, and trying to help her cope with a pain that defies belief.
2005 was a pretty big year. It included the release of Firefox Hacks (my first time in print!), tutoring the Pride kids (Avonlee and Ethan) in math, the PMC and its software auctions, the main author of Firefox Hacks (Nigel McFarlane) committed suicide, Corinne and I met the crew of the Atlantia, Jed moved in with us, I made friends with Jimmy Lehn (morning DJ at a local radio station), and we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Westerly WARM shelter. Finally, 2005 was the year I first started playing with Prototype. (Wow, i can't believe it was that long ago.)
2007 was unreal. If not for the pictures, most of it would be forgotten. I helped man the booth for Bare Bones at MacWorld Expo. Mike and Shannon moved in with us. Lauren was born! Mike and Shannon went away for a while. We did our best with Lauren and truly, completely fell in love with her. Visited her parents a lot. Finally met Jim Roepcke and Sean McMains at the second RailsConf (while Corinne stayed home with lauren). Jed married Alycia (and I got to attend, way out there in B.C., while Corinne AGAIN stayed home with Lauren), my grandfather turned eighty, Jed and Alycia came out for a visit (and haven't been back since), Corinne and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, and my sister and brother-in-law had their third daughter.
Shannon came hom again in January of '08. Lauren started walking and talking, and turned one. We got news (on the day Shannon came hom) that the house was being sold so we'd have to move (after ten years). Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren went to FL (Lauren's first plane ride). Richie (Shannon's eldest) came to live with us. My parents came to live with us, for a few months. I went to FL in October with Ellyn and the grandparents to pack them up and move them to Ellyn's house. The year ended with a terrible sprained ankle and a move from Mystic to Westerly.
In January of '09, Mike came home and the family was all back together. Unfortunately, in June they all left again. The relationship slowly thawed, but then in September they disappeared to North Carolina without warning and we thought they (especially Lauren) were gone forever. We got a ten day visit with Lauren in October, but taking her home was the second most difficult and painful thing I've ever done.
2010 started out with a brief visit from the Deanes, but after that the contact (via Skype or telephone) dwindled to nothing within a few months. I entered a serious depression (my first), which I tried to fill or bury with World of Warcraft. In March a rainstorm tried to wipe RI off the map, and in May I was brutally attacked by some blood clots that came from nowhere and landed in my left lung (killing part of it). In June, the Deanes moved back to the area, and we got regular visits with Lauren again. It took her a few minutes to remember us, but once she did it was like we were never apart.
As I write this, Lauren and Corinne are sleeping in my bed, above my office, just a few feet right over my head. I don't know what changes are coming our way next, but right now we have joy and I'm taking nothing for granted.
Happy New Year, everybody.
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From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. - WC