Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Update From The Wards

Quick status report: I'm mobile with little to no dizziness (most of that when tired and ready to go to bed), headaches fading away and feeling about 50% human. I have a follow-up appointment with our family doctor tomorrow. Oh, and I've taken advantage of this bedrest opportunity to catch up on some classic SF reading; yesterday I read Fritz Leiber's mind-bending "The Wanderer" and today I'm chewing though Robert Silverberg's anthology "The World Inside".
I think I'm gonna be Okay.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Importance Of Being (A) Patient

In good spirits--at least until he sees the BILL!
Well, THAT was interesting! On Wednesday evening I began feeling head-achy, dizzy and nauseous, and by Thursday morning I simply couldn't move without the room spinning, and drinking anything at all resulted in immediate vomiting. So early that morning Lucy drove me to Riverside Hospital's ER and by 1100 I was admitted, enrobed, entubed and wired for sound in a technically fascinating but personally annoying bed. (designed to prevent bed-sores, it constantly shifts you around like a sausage in a skillet to keep you moving--this goes on day and night. Bah!)
My BP was shockingly low and I spent the next day and a half receiving "Bolus" IV treatment with all sorts of stabilizing components injected into the drip. On Friday I went to the basement for an MRI (amazing experience--the magnets in the machine seem to sing to you! Small wonder the machine is nicknamed "Symphony") and shortly thereafter I got to look at my own brain displayed on a screen. Cool, but also good to learn that there were no blemishes or fault lines detected in my gray matter! I have a very pretty thought-box, according to the nurses.
With all the updates and revolutions in medical technology and techniques, there seems to have been no forward motion on the question of sanitary arrangements. With all that fluid being pumped into my veins I found myself needing to pee about every 20 minutes--a tricky matter when one can barely move!--and a cause for some embarrassment on my part when things did not always go where they should!
Physical Therapy resulted in an excellent vomiting session on Friday afternoon, but the IV was finally having effect and by Saturday AM the nausea was nearly gone and I ate my first meal (apple juice and three Saltines--a veritable feast!).
I was discharged on Saturday afternoon; weak as a kitten and none-too-steady but in much better shape than when I wobbled into the ER on Lucy's arm two days before. Since then I've been steadily improving, and I am happy to say that body, noggin and equilibrium are doing better. Right now I would say that I'm at about 45% of my usual healthy capacity, which means that I can shuffle around the house without assistance and eat small-but-increasing quantities of food.
Well, here we are--at home and on the mend. I have follow-up appointments with the physical therapy folks (I will endeavor not to vomit on them in future) and with my family physician, so rest assured that your correspondent is going to be devoting himself to making a full recovery.
What? Diagnosis? No, the Riverside MDs never COULD decide what was actually the root of my troubles. At least, they declined to speculate. My personal theory is Heat Exhaustion as a result of all of my unaccustomed work/play in the Summer heat of late. That makes sense, given that this has been my first Summer at home in perhaps forty years; ironic that I spend much of my working life in the hottest, most uncomfortable regions of the world, only to come home on vacation to be felled by the seasonal heat of my own hometown!

Monday, August 5, 2019

'Pilgrim's Progress

Today Lucy and I visited the Russian Lodiya 'Pilgrim', which is visiting Yorktown in the course of a voyage of global circumnavigation. With a ten-person crew this ship (only 60 FEET long!) is like a tiny piece of maritime history; Lucy and I were glad to make a contribution to help them along on their journey.
Speaking from the perspective of 30+ years of sea-faring, I am very impressed. My hat's off to the crew of 'Pilgrim', and I wish them fair winds and following seas!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Garden Stars

What It's All About

It's A Spider, Man!

A lovely arachnid makes her home in the Observatory

Wasp, Where Is Thy Sting?

Photo courtesy Lucy Epps

Green Bank Star Quest XVI (June 2019)

Jupiter and the Teapot...my best astrophoto yet!

Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in the morning mist


The observing field (my camp is in the shadow of the tree center-left

Group photo of attendees

The kids gather to launch the rockets they've built

Lift Off!