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October 25, 2000
two years ago

Small Triumphs

John left while it was still dark. I hadn't heard Fezzik move around much when he left, so when I got up, I assumed he hadn't been fed, and I fed him. He is moving around pretty well this morning, and seemed very content to go back outside and lie on his bed and watch the neighborhood after he'd gotten his breakfast. He didn't even really watch me eat mine. I just had the last of my instant oatmeal and some kefir, arguing that if the milk had already been digested once it should be easier on my stomach.

The stomach thing was bothering me way too much. So I was determined to call the doctor to ask if I could just take something, but in the folder that contained the phone number for the doctor and her nurse assistant that would probably be doing the answering anyway there was a little flyer with the 'safe' drug list. On it was my old childhood standby, Kaopectate.

I have years and years of memories of drinking gallons of the chalky white stuff when I was a kid, as I'd had the same digestive problems I do now. I sometimes wonder if those things would now be diagnosed as something like food allergies or some stress thing or just a bunch of stomach flu or something, but it's just an old memory. So now I knew that that, at least, was safe. I had a feeling that it would be as it's just a physical kind of 'stopping up' of the digestive system, unlike Imodium AD, which was a more systemic style of solution. So, with Kaopectate, there would be nothing that would reach the baby itself.

So I zoomed off to Safeway and bought the new tablets happily, no drinking chalk! Yay! And as I scamped down the aisles I ran into another childhood favorite, and one of the things I'd been allowed to eat when my stomach was unhappy, Spaghetti O's. Franco-American Spaghetti O's, though I don't know how they could have been French in any shadow of a world, there they were in all their bland noodle and tomato sauced glory. Now with Calcium! So I bought two cans of the stuff, since I was out of the bland rice stuff, and it would be a useful thing to have for lunch.

I got a lot of jokes in the lunch room when I showed up with my can. It was pretty cool that everyone recognized the stuff immediately and gave me amused shit about it. Kid food is fun. It was also emotionally satisfying, even if the simple carbos themselves did give me mild trouble later. With the medication, I could feel things were changing anyway... so I just let it happen.

The networks were still thoroughly hosed today, so I didn't do anything on-line and got a lot of work done. Did a full-out testing of a fix I had to get in late, and I didn't like that it was late, but I did like that it fixed two different bugs. I also added documentation and got to talk with Coy about testing and GUI testing and automated tests for C++ classes. Fun stuff, all in all.

Carl called around noon, while I was nuking my lunch and I called him back to tell him that things were on and he could either meet me at the house or at work if he wanted to so that we could go do dinner after work, around 5:30 or so. So he showed up and we went to the Walnut Brewery and both had the smoke salmon fish and chips that were really good. The fries were a bit salty to me, but I liked 'em after all the bland food I'd been having. I could feel that my guts still weren't really all good, yet, but they were very definitely getting better with the medication. It was nice to share real food with Carl, though.

From there we also visited the Boulder bookstore, and while Carl didn't find what he was looking for, I did see the second and third George R. R. Martin fantasy books for sale. I decided not to buy them as we had to get to dinner, but it brought them back to mind.

Home again, home again, and we went the easy way home. No confusing the Carl in a rental car. Once home, we plugged in the PlayStation and he'd brought a whole stack of games and demos, so we worked through them a little bit at a time. It was funny to realize that Carl is very much like me in that we both like watching someone else play as we both think we're not actually very good at the games. But one of us had to play! So I played some of the beginning stuff for Spiderman and Parasite Eve II and had fun with it.

The Spiderman demo had me falling down laughing, because the very, very first thing I did was leap from the roof and die falling. Oops. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. I really should have learned how to do the web slinging thing before I leaped, but it was so funny. Anyway. I did manage to learn how to sling webs as well as how to sneak up on a bad guy and fight, and we got through the demo okay. It seemed pretty fun, but the fight really is real-time and I had to be pretty solid at that. It's kinda odd, I know, especially for someone that went through the one hundred fight bloodbath of Bushido Blade eagerly, to not really like real-time fights anymore. But I really, really appreciate the lower-stress battles for my hands' sake, now. I'm not getting work breaks until the end of November, now, so I'm going to have to watch things a bit closely and not abuse my hands too much for a good while.

Parasite Eve II was pretty much as Carl said, something of a disappointment, as it isn't as pretty as I and the controls really make me mad. I like directional stuff heading me in that direction, not just turning the body so that I then have to also hit forward or backwards to make her do anything. Plus the fights get to be really, truly real time with targeting and subtracted points for hitting innocents even if they step in your way. It's far more complex and much harder on my hands. We went through the shooting gallery levels and I got so dismayed at how badly I was doing that I didn't really go any further than that. Well, that plus the fact that the practices used up what hand strength I could safely allot to the games.

So we stopped.

I wanted to see Good Eats' Mussel Bound, so we watched that and Carl started falling asleep, so I shoo'ed him off to bed. He went without a protest as he'd been up since 4.

Fezzik, in the meantime, had been barking outside, so I went outside to see how he was doing, and he was lying, flat on his side in the middle of the lawn! That surprised me a lot, and I didn't really want him lying on the ground and having all his body heat soaked up by the now damp and cold earth. So I lured him to the stairs and then tried to get him up the way I'd gotten him up them Monday night. Problem was that Fezzik wouldn't move his front paws when I had his hind legs and rear end supported. Gah. So we tried and tried and then I got discouraged and thought about luring him over to the side steps, which had fewer stairs.

Fezzik, however, wouldn't leave the front stairs. He actually ran to the side and pee'ed before trying again, but he was looking up at his water dish and from his body language I could tell that he really wanted up there and he wouldn't budge when I tried to get him to move to the side. So, finally, the two of us ended up doing it the hard way. I'd lift his hind legs onto the same level as his front legs, use my body to keep him in place while I lifted his front legs and when he collapsed on to his hind legs, I'd then move those. Fezzik tried to help, and I'm not sure if I was more in his way than a help, but between the two of us we just keep the effort and the 'moving the next thing' strategy going until he was at the top of the stairs. I can't take his whole body weight, so he much have been doing some shifting as we worked him up the stairs. I don't think I would have repeated it.

And when we got him to the top, he stumbled over to his water dish and drank and drank and drank. Then he went over to his bed and lay down.

The night was utterly still and clear. Stars in big handfuls with the light cloud of the Milky Way was all visible. When I was resting, I could see it all, so I decided to do the thing that came to mind and I got all my Hell Money burning equipment, lit the joss, bowed three times and started burning the Hell Money I'd gotten in Denver.

It burns differently than the stuff I got at the Asian market. No green glow and the paper is thicker so it burns much hotter and longer. Fezzik settled at my side contentedly and watched the fire with me. I turned out all the lights and enjoyed the burning and the incense and just being with Fezzik and thinking through some thoughts. It's fairly obvious that Fezzik is losing capabilities, even basic ones late at night. I'm glad he'll go in Friday and we'll see if there's anything that can be done; but if there can't, then it may well be time to let him go soon. There is no way I can haul him up and down the stairs by myself. If John were here it would have been much simpler, but if it requires John and I hauling Fezzik around to do something as basic as get to the lawn to pee... it is going to be really hard.

It was nice having the quiet time with him, though, when we did triumph over the stairs and his failing legs.

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