The current state of the Natalie is…not great. More below the cut.
And the reason I spent so much time listening to media instead of reading or watching is–I’ve started painting again! Like in a way that I’m finding really soothing and helpful for calming my brain weasels the fuck down. I’m still not into sharing what I’m working on on social media, but here’s a peek:
I’ve been working my way through the exercises in Josie Lewis’s The New Color Mixing Companion and it’s all rainbows and mixing colors together interspersed with essays about flow and it’s great. Just what I needed to kick start painting again.
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. I really need a win, y’all.
I had a paracentesis on Tuesday and they pulled 6.5L of fluid out of my abdomen. The doctor was great and listened to me when I said that I needed to have plenty of numbing and the longer needle; she used two vials of lidocaine and the longer needle and I didn’t feel a damn thing. I was supposed to get some intravenous albumin because more than 5L of fluid were removed, however, the nurses–including an IV nurse–were unable to get an IV started and they tried 5 separate times.
And I’ve got a rash on both my arms and back that I’m pretty sure is eczema and I’m itchy and miserable and have spent what feels like a small fortune on various lotions and unguents. I’ve messaged my primary care doctor to see if there’s anything else I can do.
I have an appointment with my surgeon tomorrow afternoon, where I will be kept waiting for at least 30 minutes in his waiting room even if there are no other patients, and where the result will be a fatherly pat on the arm and the declaration that nope, no surgery for me.
The lone bright spot in all this is that the team at Penn requested copies of my images and my GI doctor hand-delivered them himself late last week. Fingers crossed and candles lit, y’all.
I’m doing a pretty good job at keeping up with things at work, despite some jaw-dropping stupidity on the part of some of my co-workers. Like forwarding an email to me with the subject line “Your project has been approved” to ask what the approval status of the project is. I’m spending way too much of my time dealing with the garbage project approval system and not enough time working on other things.
I’m headed to Des Moines at the end of the month for a team meeting, which I’m looking forward to, even if it does mean way too much time on airplanes and in airports.
Today’s our wedding anniversary! 13 years, I think. We usually celebrate the anniversary of our first date, which was just over 21 years ago. We’ve spent almost half our lives together and I’d totally do it again.
I started and finished Vivian Shaw’s Grave Importance, the third and final volume in her Dr. Greta Helsing series. I really enjoyed it and I’m sad that it’s the last one (at least for now). Up next is Valerie Valdes’s Chilling Effect.
I both love and hate the fact that SFF is in what appears to be another Golden Age–love it because more good books and stories is an excellent thing and hate it because I can’t keep up!
Lots of PowerPoint. So much PowerPoint. And helping people with project authorizations because apparently engineers and accountants are incapable of reading.I am seriously out of patience with some of the nonsense.
I’ve actually been painting again–small pieces with very clearly delimited borders–and enjoying it tremendously. It’s nice to have something I can do because I like to do it and not worry abut the final outcome. Well, not worry too much.
Paracentesis tomorrow! I am so bloated right now, I’m expecting them to drain at least 5L from me. I also have an appointment with my vascular interventional radiologist tomorrow, where I will get to see pictures of my garbage veins and hopefully hear what he’s been talking to vascular surgeons about and if they have any proposals for alternate ways to get my portal vein open. My GI doctor also got back to me–he’s spoken with doctors at Penn and Jefferson and send my records to them for review.
I also had an appointment with a nutritionist which was not very helpful. She wanted to talk to me about carb counting, which is a thing I will have to do eventually but I have too much going on the spare the bandwidth for it right now. She was also a bit shamey about some of my food choices and told me that if I “deal with bad eating by taking more insulin” then that would affect my weight in a negative way. I do not need my food choices judged and I’m taking less than ten units of insulin a day. Considering that some diabetics take way more than that per meal, I think I’m okay.
I’ve been noodling around with Notion, and while there’s a bit of a learning curve, I think it’ll be super helpful for a project I’m planning for next year. I’m also using pen and paper for the planning, which is also useful for more nebulous things than lists and tasks. I actually took the time to make a 90 (ish) day plan for this particular project and broke it down into sub-projects per 30 days. I’m feeling pretty pleased with what I’ve worked out, but the challenge is going to be execution. I’ve given myself a fair bit of margin, so I’m hoping that will help on the execution side of things, since my health (physical and mental) definitely is a complicating factor.
Some good news this week on the medical front: my GI doctor was able to speak to doctors at Penn and Jefferson and is sending them my records for review. So I may be getting two second opinions. And my interventional radiologist has been consulting with vascular surgeons at the hospital to investigate alternate ways of getting my portal vein open. So we’ve achieved some degree of forward momentum after what feels like months of wheel spinning.
The RSS feed for the site is broken and I don’t know why; it was working find right up until last week. It is a mystery to me and not one I’m going to spend a lot of time digging into.
I managed to go into the office every day last week–for the first time since mid-August, at least. It was good to be able to manage to do that, even if it did mean that I spent an awful lot of the weekend napping.
This week, I read Gideon the Ninth and lo, it was good. The voice is phenomenal and the plot mostly holds together. It is the first book in a planned trilogy with the second volume out next May.
Been watching a lot of random television–the “Science” Channel, HGTV, and DIY mostly.
Thinking about buying the Untitled Goose Game because who doesn’t want to be a horrible goose?
I started working on outlining a few existing processes with an eye towards simplifying and streamlining them. It was a nice change from dealing with people wanting their projects authorized as quickly as possible. Although I did have to field multiple calls from the controller in Hungary about a bunch of iPhones and laptops.
On a more positive note, one of my colleagues in Spain sent me a picture of his adorable 4 month old baby–he’s gone out on paternity leave for a month; they get two months in Spain and he’d taken the first month after his son was born. Can I just say how freaking humane that is–especially compared to what folks in the US get?
I kind of went on a fountain pen and ink (mostly ink) bender this week.
The following inks have been added to my collection or are en route:
- Vinta Mermaid Green Sirena, Blue Floss Perya, and Aegean Armada
- Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo
- Sailor Shikiori Chushu and Shimoyo
- Colorverse Able and Miss Baker
- Kyo No Oto Hisoku
- Sailor Ink Studio 130, 223, and 243
In terms of pens, the most interesting ones I acquired are a TWSBI Eco-T, a Pilot Metropolitan, and a Pilot Decimo Vanishing Point. The Eco-T is a bit of a dry pen and it needs a darker and wetter ink than what I’ve put in it (Vinta Sirena). The Metropolitan is an incredibly pleasant surprise and I can see myself picking up a few more of these as they’re fairly inexpensive. The Vanishing Point hasn’t arrived yet, and it was the splurgiest pen I bought. I’m hoping it’ll be a good pen for work and I’m planning on putting either Chushu or Shimoyo in it.
The only thing that went on last week was a visit with my primary care doctor. Which was a nice change of pace. The goal with my primary care is to keep everything as stable as we can while trying to figure out my guts. Still no updates from my GI doctor, despite me sending an email and leaving a voicemail. I’ll be in the practice’s office tomorrow for an appointment with their nutritionist and I’ll try to follow up in person then. I’m not patient and I really need a paracentesis.
I, uh, ordered my Hobonichi for next year. That counts, right?