Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Why I May Have Seemed Distracted During the Westercon Meeting

Lisa has been having a problem with tinnitus -- ringing in the ears. From past experience, we know that she sometimes is susceptible to excess wax build-up, so when she got here yesterday, we used some over-the-counter ear wax removal solution as directed. Not only did it not work, but it left a bunch of fluid in her ears gurgling around and giving her an ear-ache. The pain made her so irritable this morning that we got into a fight and she nearly just headed back off to Oregon. Eventually she agreed to let me take her down to the urgent-care center after the Westercon meeting.

The meeting went on quite a while, for various reasons, mainly having to do with the fact that I was the center of attention, you might say. Almost everyone there had material for me of some sort, but I needed to wait for them to compose it or provide feedback on the draft PR copies I'd brought with me. This took several hours. Lisa patiently waited this out while her ear ached and gurgled away.

Around 4:30 PM or so, I finally had as much done as I could for now, and I told the few remaining people who were sitting there working on their contributions to e-mail them to me this evening, because we really needed to have Lisa's ears examined.

We drove down to Palo Alto Medical Center (because that's where my regular physician is and I have an established account with them) and we went to Urgent Care. Now, you must understand that Lisa detests medical paperwork and hates it when clerks casually assure her that "Oh, you'll be in the system forever." That nearly was enough to make her balk, pain or no pain, but we stayed and waited for someone to examine her.

After not nearly as long a wait as we expected, we were shown to an examining room, where they took the usual readings, and not long after that, a nice Physician's Assistant came and had a look inside of Lisa's ear.

Her right ear was okay, but he expressed a lot of concern about the left ear -- that's the one where we'd been trying to use the ear drops. He got a probe and carefully began to dig. When he was done, we had enough wax debris to make a decent-sized birthday candle had we been so inclined. Liquid trapped behind the plug drained from Lisa's ear, and she expressed considerable relief.

The PA explained that there had been so much wax built up in there that her ear canal was a little inflamed, and while not necessarily infected, he prescribed some ear drops that he said would help it heal and reduce the inflammation. As there is a 24-hour Rite Aid pharmacy near the hotel, I told him to send the prescription there. Lisa still had some small tinnitus symptoms, but they're probably related to the inflammation.

We stopped by my office on the way back to the hotel so I could work on the PR and print out a new draft to take to Sunday's BayCon meeting, which has many of the same participants as the Westercon meeting. After I'd spent a while immersed in the work and Lisa explored my otherwise deserted office, she reminded me that I needed to have dinner and that it was after 8:30. I wasn't finished, but we needed to go now or we wouldn't be able to get anything.

Much to my annoyance, I left my hat in the office. I really need to wear a hat when driving, because otherwise the van's headliner rubs against my hair, which is very distracting. I figured I could put it off until later, as we planned on going back to my office after dinner so I could finish work.

I knew there was a decent fish restaurant, The Fish Market, on the other side of the freeway, and that it wasn't that far away, and that it should be possible to walk there rather than drive, so after we went back to the hotel we walked to the restaurant. Despite what it may look like if you have a look at that map of our 1.75 km walk, we were not walking on the freeway. There is a local access road that threads its way through the maze of freeways in the US-101/CA-92 interchange. It's not a difficult walk, but also not an especially pleasant one.

After dinner, we went to the Rite-Aid to pick up the prescription. No joy. The pharmacist said, "We don't have those drops. We tried to call you, but got no answer." She showed me the number she says she tried to call, and it was my mobile phone, but I received no calls and no voice mails, so I don't know what they tried. Anyway, she called around and found a 24-hour Walgreen's in Burlingame that had the drops, and she gave me a copy of the faxed prescription.

So now we needed to drive to Burlingame. I decided to go get my hat from the office, because otherwise I would be too distracted from the hair-loving headliner. Then we went and got the prescription. I had to pay full price because their computers were down and they couldn't get any insurance information. That's okay; I charged it against my Flexible Spending Account and will claim reimbursement from insurance later.

Lisa was starting to get unhappy, and the inflammation in her ear was getting worse. We went back to the hotel, where we dosed her with the drops, which seemed to help, and I got to work on the PR.

There was a lot more fiddly bits left to do on the PR than I realized. And it's still not done. There are two ads still pending, and a couple of significant articles. And I can't really finish the layout until I have those articles, because until I know how long they are, I can't finalize the total page count. The PR is currently 28 pages plus a "tip-in" site selection ballot that is to be bound into the middle of the PR, but if the articles either don't arrive or are much shorter than expected, I may have to cut and back to get to 24 pages; alternatively, depending on how much space I'm short, I might increase the point size of the Westercon bylaws from the eye-watering 7 points it's currently set to 8 points, which would add one page.

Anyway, it's so late now that I've decided to put off going to my office tonight. Lisa is restlessly trying to make the most of the bed -- last night she ended up sleeping on the floor on account of the bed being too soft for her -- and I'm pretty tired myself. I don't need to be at the start of the BayCon meeting, so I can probably go print this sometime early Sunday afternoon and bring it to BayCon's meeting later.
Tags: westercon

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