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January 03, 2006

Comments

Enjoy the change of pace!

While the cat's away...

Try to think of it as a weird vacation...

Sudoku, my addiction. Well, until I get good enough at them that I can polish even the hardest ones off in a few minutes, that is...

One can hope, anyway. I hope everything goes well, hilzoy.

Lily: yeah, I am. My thing for dealing with nervousness is to prepare for it. (This, no doubt, an overreaction to Abdominal Surgery #1: The Appendectomy, which, like most appendectomies, was unexpected, and thus unprepared for. I spent the week or so during which I was housebound running out of all sorts of basic things. So before Abdominal Surgeries #2 and #3 (this one), I overcompensated.

(My mom lectured me on becoming a materialist. I replied that buying a 20 roll pack of toilet paper didn't make me a materialist, since I would undoubtedly have bought all 20 rolls at some point. After that, though, I didn't really want to go into my having bought the DVD of Serenity and several new books in preparation.)

And you know what's really annoying? Tomorrow afternoon I'll have to miss the latest meeting of our stem cell group, at which the stem cell researchers will probably tell everyone all the inside gossip on the South Korean fiasco.

And I won't be there!

Grr.

Think you'll be alert enough to enjoy the Rose Bowl?
I know that sort of thing is right up your alley.

PS: You'll do great hil; hope this fixes the problem once and for all. Tell the damn doctors to get it right this time... (they really like when patients do that).

Best of luck, Hilzoy! I hope it's all terribly uneventful and boring.

xanax: I didn't even watch the Rose Bowl when I lived in Pasadena. Assuming it's on this weekend, I should be alert enough to watch it, but for some reason I suspect I won't.

I think they are planning to do it right this time: hence the 3-4 day hospital stay, general anaesthesia, etc. I believe that cadaveric tissue will be involved. I asked the doctor: will this make me a chimera? and after telling me that no, all the cells have been removed, thus no immune rejection problems, etc., he stopped and said: wait, why are you asking me that? Oh, I do research in the ethics of interspecific chimeras, I replied.

Bioethicists as patients: I'm sure that's every doctor's dream.

"will this make me a chimera?"

christ, hil, you shouold have asked him the real question about using parts of dead people: Will this make me part Zombie?

If so, you'd be the first genuine part Zombie I know. (How cool would that be!)

PS: Rose Bowl's tomorrow afternoon between #1 USC and #2 Texas. Should be quite a barn-burner if you're conscious and so inclined.

Oh. Then it depends what time tomorrow. Operation should end around 2. When I regain consciousness, who can say?

7 pm EST... and it is, after all, for the national championship. So yeah, you'll be awake, in a reasonably good mood (pain meds), and with no other pressing business.

So the Rose Bowl's probably as good as any other program to nod in and out of an opiated stupor to.

(Good luck tomorrow, pal).

I think they are planning to do it right this time: hence the 3-4 day hospital stay, general anaesthesia, etc.

Ah -- yes. I forgot your hospital stays tend to be shorter than ours. I'm glad they are giving you this length of time. (And when it gets boring you can aim biotethicist barbs at them!)

I hope it goes really well.

jayann: I can see it now:

"a living will and a durable power of attorney walk into a bar..."

Good luck hilzoy! Come back soon!

Oh, and the football game starts at 8 EST, not 7 (but likely won't kick off until closer to 8:30).

Hilzoy - best wishes for your operation. (Whaddya mean, the hospital doesn't have wireless?)

(My mom lectured me on becoming a materialist. I replied that buying a 20 roll pack of toilet paper didn't make me a materialist, since I would undoubtedly have bought all 20 rolls at some point. After that, though, I didn't really want to go into my having bought the DVD of Serenity and several new books in preparation.)

Hee. Last time I had to go into hospital for surgery, I stocked up on ice cream and books. Lots of books.

I hope both operation and recovery will be fast en easy. Personally I have a problem with reading books in hospital - to many distractions. So I recommend an mp3-player with favourite music.

fast AND easy.... when I'm tired I sometimes forget to translate all words :)

I've already given best wishes in e-mail, but it rarely hurts to repeat them. I shall be thinking of you constantly. I don't see that this will do you much good, but if anyone has any suggestions for something more helpful I could do for Hilzoy, please let me know.

Meanwhile, it's... interesting, that, well, remember the thread recently in which I was wailing about being depressed (somewhat better now), and we briefly discussed mocking one's own negative thoughts and their silly excesses, and using songs to do so?

Yes, Hilzoy remembers, I say, using my mind-reading helmet.

And one such song (along with much of the early ouevre of Neil Young) I popped in to mention briefly was "When Will I Be Loved?"

The other one that went with that one, of course, it popped back into my head in the middle of the night the other night, and I thought, you should mention this on that ObWings thread -- but, then, I thought, nah, that thread is old now, don't bother.

Yes, of course. "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me!"

Precisely. Just so.

I'll just leave that there for now, and get back to wishing you well. I already gave in e-mail some days ago what little hospital advice I have to give.

Oh, here's a tip. During one of my stays, I didn't check closely when they took my name to make my plastic ID wrist-band. After only a few minutes, I looked at it, and noticed it said "Gary Faber."

I immediately pointed this out, and was informed that It Could Not Be Changed.

So for the rest of those several days at Beth Israel in Manhattan, I was "Gary Faber."

No harm came from that (although I had a few unrelated unpleasant experiences), but, there you go: if you don't want a mild identity crisis on top of everything else, check they get your name right. (This may also help visitors be able to find you, rather than be told that you don't exist.)

This is a subset of the general advice, which I'm sure you're on top of, which is to have someone skeptical and smart and skeptical and skeptical with you to check on everything the doctors and nurses tell you and are doing, as best as your helper(s) can, because, frankly, one can't trust them not to make mistakes. You are your own best watchdog, but since you won't be able to do that a significant part of the time, make sure, as best you can, you have someone there to watch out for you, someone who is there just for you, rather than being a docter/nurse/etc.

I had to get by on my own, but I still caught some serious screw-ups, which, big surprise, I lived through. Anyway, that's my primary cautious advice.

Remember: don't be afraid to ask for more pain-killer! They tend to be crazy these days about stinting on it.

And, as I said in e-mail the other day, have visitors bring you decent things to eat once you're out of recovery.

xanax: "If so, you'd be the first genuine part Zombie I know."

Don't get out much on the internet, do you?

:-)

"Don't get out much on the internet, do you?"

Sad to say, nope. Not on the internet or in real life... tho we did take the kids to see Narnia on Christmas day.

It was my big outing.

But, but ... who's going to be Hilzoy while you're lazing around in the hospital? No wireless? A likely story!

Seriously, get well soon!

No computer? Cell phones not functional?

I have a wonderful suggestion. You don't see them much any more, but I give my highest recomendation to an ancient toy commonly known as "books."

My personal suggestions if you havent read them:

Miss Lonelyhearts, By Nathianel West

Pale Fire, Nabokov

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Re stocking up beforehand.

When about to go into labor (which turned into an emergency C-section, which turned into a 5-day hospital funfest) I started putting together a music collection and decided that I absolutely had to be able to listen to music during contractions and very especially to Lou Reed performing "A Walk on the Wild Side" - don't know why, hormones I guess, though also it is one of my favorites.

So my kind and beleaguered spouse ended up taking the subway all the way down to J&R Music World, by City Hall, buying a boom box and batteries, finding a CD with the song on it somewhere else ... then I never listened to it. Instead the soundtrack of "Tous les Matins du Monde" proved to be the winning selection and was on pretty much throughout recovery (indeed, I recommend it highly). So the boom box was useful.

Was this materialistic? Well, it was something one could apply a couple of unkind adjectives to. But toilet paper purchased in quantity, no, I don't think so.

The DVD of "Serenity" - oooooh! Do you watch on laptop or do hospitals have DVD players now? When my mom was recovering from surgery a while back, I imported the BBC 6-hour "Pride and Prejudice," "The Secret of Roan Inish," and "Clueless," all of which proved to be popular choices.

Please feel better soon - and remember, I'm a chimera and you won't be!

Note to Will - I'm about as voracious a reader as it gets, and as it happens you've listed two books I'm really crazy about and one I like (the Krakauer).

But having done the surgery/drug thing - I remember that during the hospital stay I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I managed to read an article in "Vogue" about a spa in the South of France with lavender hanging in the closets and kaolin mud baths (can recall everything about that spa to this day - probably something to do with the morphine). Would save "Pale Fire," especially, for 2 or 3 weeks down the road, when one has the energy to page back and forth between poem and footnotes ...

I'll have to miss the latest meeting of our stem cell group

You're a stem cell? Gee, those things are even more important than I realized.

Best wishes, hilzoy. Something requiring a 3-4 day stay in the hospital, general anesthesia, and a long recuperation doesn't sound quite so trivial to me.

A question: As Jes' comment illustrates, the British talk of being "in hospital," while we Americans are "in the hospital." What's that all about?

Best wishes, hilzoy, and I hope that while you are under, they will clone you. Just kidding. I've also emailed you offlist with a request, but please, no rush on it.

A question: As Jes' comment illustrates, the British talk of being "in hospital," while we Americans are "in the hospital." What's that all about?

There's a few possible explanations, I think. The first is that it's a general rule of thumb about the use of the definite article implies a specific referent.
1. Watch the road!
2. That's the blog I always visit.

Replacing that with an indefinite article generally indicates an absence of a specific referent.

3. I had a sandwich for lunch.

or introducing a referent

4. An American, a Mexican and a Swede go into a bar and _the_ American says...

It's a general rule that the noun, if singular, requires something in the slot before it, such as an article

5. a girl
6. the monkey
7. that president
8. one mistake

However, we drop the article when we refer to a location that is generalized and we are talking about something not specifically related to the location.

9. I went to church.
10. He's in school.

Now, in British English,
11. He's in hospital

is grammatical, but in American English, it isn't. There are a couple of possible explanations. One is that Brits have a distinction between the American construction of 'hospitaliz[s]ed' and being 'in hospital' (with the first generally meaning 'suddenly, unexpectedly' and the second means somewhat voluntarily or under one's own power) that Americans don't.

Another one is that some English dialects allow a dropping of the article (The Monty Python 4 Yorkshireman skit have a number of examples of this)

Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to 'ave to get up out of [the] shoebox at twelve o'clock at night and lick [the] road clean wit' tongue

and the British usage stems from that. However, the fact that this usage is also common in Canada (which would be less susceptible to this sort of influence) makes that less possible.

Another suggestion is that because both places have a National Health system (as well as NZ and Aus), hospitalization is viewed as a more generalized state of affairs than it is in the US.

I should note that when I have offered this explanation among English teachers, some took violent offense to the last explanation. Also, there is no reason why all three explanations could apply to varying degrees.

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu, all.

Everyone: thanks for the good wishes. I send them right back at you.

lj: I was thinking about your post, and it occurred to me that there are two ways to go in coming up with a way to say 'in (the) hospital'. (1) Suppose there is only one nearby: one might say 'in the hospital', just as one might say 'at the bar' or 'at the beach'. (2) Alternately, one could say 'in hospital', like 'in school' or 'in jail (gaol)'. Possibly UK and US English just took different routes: around the time hospitalizations became common enough to have an idiom, the two had separated, and there were not so many hospitals that (2) would have been the only possibility.

In thinking about this, I became puzzled by 'on the road'.

hilzoy, best wishes & get well soon.

Hilzoy - would have written sooner, but the Geezer Bowl went to triple overtime.

First, of course, best wishes on your procedure, from myself and the amiable Anarch.

Next, I asked my wife (who was in [the] hospital December 20-23) for her recommendations. Two in particular:
- *Hydrate* as much as they will allow you before you go in. Drink lots of water, because you'll go thirsty for a long long time. If they won't bring you water, ask them for ice chips, which you can melt on your lips.
- If you are unable to get to the bathroom (because connected to too many tubes and wires), ask them for a [portable] _commode_ rather than resort to a bedpan. Remember, if you can't get to the toilet, you also can't get to the shower.

Finally, I won't make recommendations for reading, viewing, and listening at this stage, because if you don't have the necessary materials on hand, you're unlikely to get them now. But if you happen to wind up watching the Rose Bowl game, remember that USC is EVIL INCARNATE and therefore you must cheer for Texas, although it has little to commend it other than being Not USC.

Best wishes!

But if you happen to wind up watching the Rose Bowl game, remember that USC is EVIL INCARNATE and therefore you must cheer for Texas, although it has little to commend it other than being Not USC.

This is true. Categorically true, in fact, which means that -- as a purely moral issue -- Kant would have rooted for Texas against USC, and who are you to argue against Kant's categorical imperative?

So hydrate thoroughly, grab the alcoholic or pseudo-alcoholic beverage of your choice plus some artery clogging foods -- I'm sure the hospital will be loaded with those, just ask around a bit -- hook'em up to the IVs (or whatever horns you have available) and prepare yourself for a four-hour slog of delightful mayhem. And as a special service, act now and I'll relay to you some of my favorite chants and cheers that have been responsible for getting Wisconsin fans thrown out of stadiums across the country.

Have I mentioned that I loves me some college football?

In thinking about this, I became puzzled by 'on the road'.

As a famous linguist used to say when confronted with a counter example 'Neat fact!'

For 'on the road', I think that there is a notion that we all have an idea of what people are doing 'on the road', but it is not easily defined in terms of a purpose, whereas being in school or in church is more readily definable.

Interesting discussion about "in (the) hospital."

Recall that, in reference to the dying we, in America say he/she is in hospice. Not in THE hospice. I wonder if there's any derivational relationship between hospital & hospice that might account for the consistency (in hospice, in hospital) across the pond. Just a (decidedly un-scholarly) thought.

re dr ngo's comment: "remember that USC is EVIL INCARNATE and therefore you must cheer for Texas."

And I thought my buddies and I were the only ones who felt this way. We saltue and welcome you Dr. Ngo to the club of trojan-loathers. Living in Southern Arizona (Tucson), the local University is in the Pac 10 and hence has to play USC in all sports. We admire some other Pac 10 teams (Stanford, Cal, the Washington schools, the Oregon schools) but we despise Arizona State and USC. We pretty much think UCLA stinks up the place but we don't hate them.

But Az. State and USC? Evil Evil Evil!

In thinking about this, I became puzzled by 'on the road'.

Not to swipe too obviously from George Carlin, but "on the plane" is even more puzzling.

Congrats Wisconsin fans, grads, and people who loathe Auburn. I'd comment more on that, but I'm hoarse from the Outback Bowl, where I was torn between cheering on the Big Ten and continuing to have a good relationship with my wife. If it'd been Purdue, my choice may have been different. Penn State against Florida State wasn't much of a decision; I'd cheer for just about anybody against FSU, with the possible exception of Miami (LSU trouncing them was possibly the most fun I've ever had watching college football). At least Bowden sent his felon home instead of playing him in the bowl game while out on bail (admittedly still sore from when Nebraska annihilated Florida whilst fielding a star player who was, in fact, out on bail).

Speaking of which, is there anyone besides me and my in-laws who think the Nebraska-Michigan game is a strong contender for worst-officiated game ever?

Me, I turned off the game halfway because it's harder for me to watch sporting events while on the mag-rollers than it is to, for instance, watch Serenity (for the first time). Verdict: I really, really liked it. Possibly in part because it kept surprising the hell out of me, even though I've seen all the trailers. I'm going to have to find time to watch it again before I return it, this time sans headphones and with surround on.

Re: hospital - at a guess I'd say it's to do with the British perception of hospital care as a public service, rather than a purchased/insured good, but frankly there's no way to tell until you look at the historical usage.

As for Sudoku, don't bother. It passes the time but it's not very interesting after you know how to do it. Learn to do cryptic crosswords instead. The Guardian has been running a good series of articles for novices by Colin Dexter over the last few months.

Javelina:

That is an excellent point about Pale Fire.

I should have recommended Walker Percey's Lost in the Cosmos.

Javelina:

That is an excellent point about Pale Fire.

I should have recommended Walker Percey's Lost in the Cosmos.

xanax' comment about the usage of "hospice" suggests another idea to me. Maybe Americans say "in hospice" as a shortened form of "in hospice care." British usage might have evolved this way, from "she is in hospital care" to "she is in hospital." The words "hospice" and "hospital" are really adjectives here (or whatever it's called when a noun is used as an adjective). That doesn't answer the question of why we put in the article, leaving the words as just nouns.

I echo GY on cryptic crosswords, though not on Sudoku. Get the Financial Times. Their crosswords are excellent, and lots of their news coverage is interesting also. But be sure to learn some of the conventions first, or it will be hopeless.

Yeah, the FT's crosswords are good - John Graham, aka Araucaria, sets for the FT as Cinephile. The Telegraph has beginner-friendly crosswords. Don't even bother with the Times or the Independent until you know what you're doing.

Slarti: Congrats Wisconsin fans, grads, and people who loathe Auburn.

I'm at least 2.5 of those, so thanks!

Speaking of which, is there anyone besides me and my in-laws who think the Nebraska-Michigan game is a strong contender for worst-officiated game ever?

Actually, yes. My dad and I had been screaming at the refs the whole until the spotting of the ball on Nebraska's last play, their final punt. For those who didn't see it ('cause it didn't make any replays), with about a minute left in the game, the refs randomly burned 30+ seconds off the block for absolutely no reason before finally placing the ball at the line of scrimmage and allowing Nebraska to punt. At that point, my dad and I both went kinda quiet; there was a pause; and he quietly said, "I wonder if the fix is really in." The last play was just the icing on the cake.

Yes, the refereeing was that bad.

So, AFAIC, the Big Ten went 3 wins, 3 losses, and 1 asterisk this bowl season. [And all three wins were our top-ranked teams!] Very respectable, although not earth-shattering by any means.

Me, I'm just wondering if the player who knocked the Michigan ballcarrier out of bounds in the last play of the game was on the field at the start of the play. Not that that's the point, but it would kind of put an exclamation point on the badness of it all. IIRC, Lloyd Carr had to burn just about all of his timeouts just to convince the refs to review plays that they ought to have reviewed automatically, as anyone watching the instant replays on the big screen could figure out.

Just talking about it pisses me off, so I'm back to my Leonard Cohen compilation.

"But having done the surgery/drug thing - I remember that during the hospital stay I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I managed to read...."

Anyone who recommends something much harder to read than My Weekly Reader for four or five days after surgery has obviously never had surgery. Morphine and its opioid friends are not recommended for their aid in increasing focus and concentration, and neither is pain.

Slarti: "so I'm back to my Leonard Cohen compilation"

Don't miss "Alexandra Leaving." Beautiful, brilliant;
an incredible, haunting song.

Slart --

According to the news stories I read, the tackler was in fact on the field when the play started. My issue, as a UM graduate, is that I always thought that games couldn't end on a defensive penalty, which clearly should have been called once the Nebraska players from the sidelines started going on the field. So Michigan should have had the ball for one more play on about the Nebraska 10 yard line. Or is that just pro ball?

Hilzoy: sorry for hijacking your thread. You have my best wishes.

Eleventh song on the second disc; I'm only about halfway through the first.

Odd stuff; Cohen's not what I'd characterize as a vocalist, but not unpleasant, and the lyrics are quite interesting. I'd heard Roberta Flack do "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" quite a few years ago, and I'm unsure as to which version I prefer, even though Flack has what I consider to be a rare purity of voice.

Since I blew out my voice at the football game, I can now sing "Everybody Knows" in the right octave. Probably won't last, though.

Or is that just pro ball?

No, it's college ball. I have no idea what the pro ball rules are in this regard, but this is consistent with college rules. And I agree completely that there should have been a penalty on Nebraska. Without the entire team on the field, there would have been other places to run as well, so there was clearly impediment.

gary farber:

There are many books whose meaning can only truly be understood with the assistance of chemistry. After all, that makes the experience much closer to the author's.

I'm glad it's minor, but sorry to hear this nonetheless. Best wishes.

Another suggestion is that because both places have a National Health system (as well as NZ and Aus), hospitalization is viewed as a more generalized state of affairs than it is in the US.

I should note that when I have offered this explanation among English teachers, some took violent offense to the last explanation.

For reference sake: the Dutch (with NHS) say "in THE hospital", "at school", "go to THE church" :)

Speaking of which, is there anyone besides me and my in-laws who think the Nebraska-Michigan game is a strong contender for worst-officiated game ever?

Overall, yes it was. In terms of consequences, Nebraska-Penn State 1982 may have been worse. Nebraska leading, Penn State mounting a last-minute drive. First the zebras gave Penn State a 4th-down completion where, on replay, the receiver was clearly out-of-bounds. Then the zebras ruled a Nebraska interception in the end zone incomplete, saying the defender was out-of-bounds, and the replay clearly showed him getting his first foot down in bounds. Penn State scored with seconds left and won the game, then went on to win the national title with one loss. Nebraska was otherwise undefeated and finished third. Two bad calls in under a minute almost certainly affected who won the title that year.

Be well.

Hilzoy,
If you need someone to come and read appalling trash to you, email me. I'm there.

Got here late, and hoping my good wishes are entirely superfluous by now (i.e. that you are patched up, out, and recovering).

You are a force for good in a wicked world; take care of yourself.

Xanax We saltue and welcome you Dr. Ngo to the club of trojan-loathers.

Thanks, Sonny, but I joined that club around 1951, growing up in southern California in a UCLA family. After more than half a century, the Evil is still undiminished ... but maybe that's in the nature of Evil.

dr. ngo: "Thanks, Sonny, but I joined that club around 1951"

OK, gramps, then you can welcome us to the club.

Either way, GO LONGHORNS!!!

"There are many books whose meaning can only truly be understood with the assistance of chemistry. After all, that makes the experience much closer to the author's."

A bit late to recommend On The Road. :-) Poetry, possibly, might work. But my own experience of being in hospital, in great pain, and on heavy drugs, is simply of inability to focus on much of anything at all, no matter the effort.

"I'm glad it's minor, but sorry to hear this nonetheless. "

Since Hilzoy won't see this, and I can't worry her further, any surgery that requires more than a night's stay is "serious," in my book, and even that which requires a night's stay is not to be sneezed at. For iatrogenic reasons, among many others.

But I'm a Jewish mother. Somehow. So I won't feel less worried until Hilzoy posts that she's home and recovering. And then I always worry that anyone and everyone might have an anvil fall on their head at any moment, anyway. I've seen it happen in cartoons many times.

"If you need someone to come and read appalling trash to you, email me. I'm there."

I trust you realize she's not going to be that reading kind thought in time. I also assume you realize you'd have to travel to [East Coast City that is not NYC], not that it's an impossibly long drive.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

"Cohen's not what I'd characterize as a vocalist, but not unpleasant, and the lyrics are quite interesting. "

What would 'One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" be without his wailing at the end? Maybe I'm biased (I'm a huge Dylan fan) but I think his voice is fine most of the time - think of his singing on Songs From A Room, for example.

I don't find his voice unpleasant, GY, just not as accurate as would be the voice of someone who only sings for a living. My threshold of rejection falls somewhere between Dylan and Neil Young, with the line being much closer to Dylan than Young. All the way at the other end of the spectrum are Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack, along with some others whose names currently escape me.

Hence, "not what I'd characterize as a vocalist".

Which side of the line are Dylan and Young on?

Sides, rather.

The line I spoke of is my threshold of rejection. There's lots of people I just cannot listen to that others apparently can. Perry Farrell, for example. Young is on the reject side of the line, Dylan is not.

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