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February 9, 2000
two years ago

Reassurances

John and I stayed home this morning, because Fezzik had an appointment with the eye specialist late in the morning, and it was easier to work from home than to go to work, come home, take Fezzik to the vet, take Fezzik home, and then go back to work. We spent much less time on the road. I spent most of the morning reading books that I haven't had the time to read while coding. There are, frequently, good things to pick up in books that would make my job a lot easier, and it is somewhat frustrating to not stop long enough to sharpen the tools of my trade because I'm too busy working. So I took the advantage of having this morning to do some of the reading I have been putting off for a few months.

I am really enamored with Extreme Programming Explained. It is a book that Carl recommended, and I recommend it to anyone in a commercial programming environment that has a fairly small group and some flexibility as to how they work. It has some really good ideas that can be used almost instantaneously. Some of which makes some difference, but I do believe the author when he says that the biggest differences are to be found when all the elements are in place. A few days ago I recommended it to the entire development team, including marketing and support, so it should be interesting to see who actually reads it.

Fezzik was fairly quiet on the way to the veterinarian. He actually doesn't seem to be too bothered by his eye, except immediately after the times we put the drop or the ointment into his eye. I've caught him rubbing his eye with his paw, when the eye was tearing after the application. I really don't like putting things in his eye that don't help make him better. He was very patient in the waiting room, though he occasionally tried to push his way between John and I and ignore everything else. We'd pet him when he did that, and he'd come out eventually. It was interesting when he would lay his head in my lap, obviously looking for reassurance. I'd pet him and make much of him, and he would be calmer afterwards, less prone to restless pacing. There was another dog there, who had been bit by another dog in the family. They didn't know why, but the dog had been bit hard enough that she needed stitches. Fezzik wanted to make acquaintances, but she was in no mood to be approached by a big dog, so we kept him on short leash to keep them both safe.

The eye specialist had an assistant, who came out to get us and brought us into the smallest examination room in the building, it seemed. The doctor, the assistant, John, Fezzik and I just fit, and it was a very good thing that Fezzik was very calm about being examined. The doctor was very thorough, since he had the history of the other examinations, and had some idea what was probably going on, he was able to test his hypotheses in a number of ways. He checked for neck and back pains, chest pains, and possible motion problems. It turns out that the nerve set that controls Fezzik's third eyelid and pupil control actually starts at his brain and then runs all around before it actually gets to his eye. So there were a number of possible reasons for the probable inflammation. He also had an eye drop, which he put into Fezzik's eye, which would calm the inflammation of those nerves, if that was actually the problem. It turned out, sure enough, that the condition completely cleared up through the drop. So Fezzik has Horner's Syndrome, without any of the physical side effects that would indicate brain tumor, stroke, or back problems; just as 90 percent of all dogs that have the Syndrome do. Basically, we just have to wait for up to six months and it should just clear up on its own.

That was actually quite the relief, and the veterinarian said that it was likely to bother us more than it was actually going to bother Fezzik, which was a very good thing to know. He also said that with Horner's Syndrome his main job was to simply reassure the owners and make sure that the cause was not a symptom of something else gone terribly wrong.

On the way home, I talked over with John the simple fact that because we are engineers neither of us were particularly upset over the fact that the first two veterinarians hadn't been able to 'fix' Fezzik. Nor were we particularly upset over the fact that we had to try a few things that didn't work in order to figure out the real problem. Even a canine body is a terribly complex system, and it just made sense that they had to try number of things before the expert on the particular subsystem could get in and diagnose the real problem with a toolset the other veterinarians didn't have.

Fezzik seems to be far happier without the eye drops and ointments, and he settled in just fine when we've got him home.

On the way home we went through Lafayette, right by Santiago's, and we couldn't just drive-by without getting our lunch first. I had one of the Indian tacos while John had the same with pork instead of chicken, and we brought home our haul and went through it happily for lunch. They make such excellent food, in this time I was actually brave enough to have the make the sauce only one-quarter hot and three-quarters mild instead of the all mild I usually have. The additional spice really added a lot of taste to the food, than I think I will keep it at about this level from now on, as it is warm enough to be tasty but not so hot as to cause me pain.

When we got to work there was plenty to do. I had several bugs to investigate for tomorrow, a tutorial to edit, and two bugs to fix before Tuesday. The investigation got very interesting when it led to a possible OS bug and problem. There are so many weird things that happened in MFC that it creates complete job security for those who have the convoluted knots of class calls in their heads. This one was just weird. I also had to call Bob about it and someone in San Jose was a specialist. That is one very nice thing about being in a big company, having the resources to do extensive research when it is necessary.

We had to go home early, relatively, because I had a massage appointment with CeLena. Normally I would be going in on Monday, but it is Valentine's Day so I rescheduled for today. It was probably a good thing, too.

It became obvious, fairly quickly, that I am presently not under the same stress I was at the beginning of last week. Quite a lot of it seems to be related to the fact that my workload isn't killing me right now. There are a lot of things to do, and I am getting around to it, but they are small enough that they are easy to scope and easy to predict, which makes life just that much less stressful. Also, with things going well with Geoff and very excellently with John, there's just that much less stress all around. Getting the direct physical feedback of finding that my entire body is less stressed and less tied up into knots really helped as well. I still have some lower back tension, and my forearms and wrists can always use the extra work, so she worked those over very well. There were still trouble spots in my shoulders, probably tied to the fact that I grind my teeth when I'm asleep. She also found that the muscles under my chin were very tight as well.

One of the things that always amazes me about these massage sessions is finding all these muscles I never knew existed by finding that they are tensioned beyond belief.

John came and got me at the right time, but didn't have a good idea for dinner, so I pulled out some frozen pot stickers and cooked those while he rode the bike. That worked out very well, and I didn't have to think too much or do too much to get dinner on the table. While it was cooking I was able to spin some more. I need at least two spools of the silk before I have enough for a scarf, and I started the second tonight. Spinning is a very relaxing thing to do, especially in front of the TV. It can be a little hard on my hands, especially since the silk is fairly tough to pull in the sections where the gum hasn't been washed completely from the fiber. There aren't too many of those sections, luckily, and on the most part it does flow like... well... silk.

I let dinner digest for a while, and then did the smart thing and took my bath before a got too late. I wasn't aching as badly as last week, but the warm bath really helped relax everything and warmed my body up enough to make it easy to fall asleep when I finally got to bed.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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