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February 6, 2010

PSA, part 2
Posted by Patrick at 01:21 PM * 61 comments

You know something, being sick for nearly five weeks isn’t nearly as much fun as they say.

Much better now, thanks to high-tech prescription drugs that appear to have successfully interrupted the cough/asthma/allergy cycle that had me unable to do much more challenging in the month of January than watch old House episodes. As of the last few days, I’ve even been back in the Tor offices, accomplishing actual work.

But if you’re wondering why I’ve been even more unresponsive than usual, that’s probably why. At this point I need to do something like proclaim “email amnesty,” or maybe “email apocalypse.” Or at least do this, an approach that seems applicable to non-email inboxes as well.

Comments on PSA, part 2:
#1 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 01:52 PM:

I'm glad you're feeling better, but I wonder who the "they" are who claim it's fun to be sick for five weeks. I need to stay away from those folks; either I'd succumb to their siren song or I'd attempt assault.

#2 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Patrick, just pile all the email you can't deal with into a folder deep within the archives. If it's important they'll have another way to reach you, or will try again.

You're a lot more important than a bunch of pixels.

#3 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 02:27 PM:

If it's important they'll have another way to reach you, or will try again.

That way lies much pestering, & frustration on all sides.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Glad you're feeling better. Being ill for that long sounds massively unpleasant.

#5 ::: Natalie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 04:10 PM:

I was sick from Thanksgiving through January (with about a week off for good behavior in the middle), and yeah. Not much fun. Glad that you're feeling better.

#6 ::: Sherman Dorn ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 04:47 PM:

I'll echo the "your health is more important than e-mail" line, and I've seen the e-mail DMZ idea referred to as e-mail bankruptcy.

I have the same e-mail autoresponse for when I'm out of town and when I'm hiding to catch up on work: "I am not in constant e-mail contact today. If this is a life-and-death emergency, you can use the form at http://awayfind.com/xxxxxxxxxxx -- otherwise, please expect to hear from me in a few business days." Blah blah, signature.

#7 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 04:57 PM:

Glad you're recovering, Patrick.

#8 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 05:08 PM:

Patrick, I think I can speak for all the people who have not sent you email, and say that we expect no response from you, and are satisfied with that.

And that we are glad that you are feeling better!

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 05:16 PM:

Just go get better, Patrick. Don't worry about the rest.

#10 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:20 PM:

Glad to hear you're feeling better. No, being sick even for a day or two is no fun (constant coughing hurts, for example), never mind five weeks - and that's before factoring in catching-up afterwards.

#11 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:22 PM:

Glad to hear you're feeling better. May it continue!

"Bankruptcy" is what I've heard it called mostly. But whatever the name, it can be the right thing.

#12 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:25 PM:

Glad to hear you're feeling better! Hope that continues to be so, and I'll send you an e-mail soon.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:25 PM:

Anyone who thinks being sick for five weeks is fun is probably either a child or someone who has never been sick for more than two weeks.

Signed, someone who had bronchitis for a month, complete with codeine-laced cough medicine. While on jury duty.

#14 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:30 PM:

I will go even further than Nancy C. Mittens in #8 and say that I would be positively disturbed if you, Patrick, were to answer an email that I never sent.

#15 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:43 PM:

I'm happy you're feeling better and hope you continue to improve. And I add my voice to those who insist that your health is much more important than pixels. Love the link. Ignore away!

#16 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:44 PM:

Y'know, for many of us, House would not be the best choice of viewing material during an illness. I hope you didn't have any rare, exotic complications during the last five weeks.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 06:58 PM:

rm @ 16... Ot The Andromeda Strain. Or Fringe.

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Wow, I'm glad the drugs are working. I had no idea you were still sick.

#20 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 07:49 PM:

Hmph. Reminds me of a tenacious lung crud I had last January, that stretched into freaking March, and only went away when the doc gave up on lesser guns and prescribed one of those 5-day, ultra high-dosage steroid regimens. (To take down the inflammation, see, and break the cough cycle.)

The good news is, I thought I had permanently damaged my lungs but they did recover fully.

The bad news is, even though the worst of it is gone, you'll still be a bit shaky for another few weeks. Do NOT tempt fate: if you are even a little tiny bit of a smoker ("One cigarette/reefer a day can't be all that bad") you must quit altogether ("Oh, yes it can"). And, yes, for a while even 2nd hand smoke will trigger a bronchial spasm.

Been there, done that, sympathize completely. Hope you keep on getting better.

#21 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Good to hear that you're feeling better.

A few years ago I had a cough that got so bad I damaged a rib and had to sleep half-upright for the next week. And then my HMO took several extra days to diagnose it as the walking pneumonia that it was because I didn't have a fever (or some other single missing symptom from a longer checklist).

#22 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 08:10 PM:

Serge and rm at 17 and 16, re inappropriate choices while ill: Several years ago, I felt like I might be coming down with a cold, or flu maybe, and decided to spend the weekend in bed with a book. The book was the expanded version of Stephen King's The Stand. (It *did* take all weekend...)

#23 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 08:39 PM:

#20, CaseyL: Good advice. As it happens, I haven't smoked since the evening of October 13, 1992.

#24 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 08:58 PM:

Patrick, I've never smoked, but I still acquired asthma from not babying myself properly after a serious case of bronchitis. And you do spend some of your time singing in bars. (Speaking from painful experience, if you ever feel that you're about to lose your voice, stop trying to talk, and Really Truly Eleventy-one don't try to sing.)

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2010, 10:55 PM:

Lois Fundis @22... Is that akin to watching The Right Stuff while on a commercial flight?

#26 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 01:35 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @23: ...I haven't smoked since the evening of October 13, 1992.

But who's counting?

I've done the email Inbox DMZ thing, and it worked great. Go for it!

This really has been the winter for lingering lung crud. I've escaped (so far), but had some of that sort of thing last year. Inhalers made me a lot better, but it was looking like I might have low-grade asthma -- but that cleared up as soon as the warm weather arrived. I now believe that people like yourself should hop a plane to a warm climate for 2 to 4 weeks. I'm sure that's feasible, right?

#27 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 01:44 AM:

My godson will attest to the fact that a bad cold or something can lead to unpleasantness.'

In 2003 or 4, I had reserved a table at a local SCA Christmas Big Event, which usually led to a nice amount of dough to buy Christmas presents. I'd had some virus or something that had caused me to have sneezing and coughing spasms so bad that I tore some rib muscles.

I had loaded the car the night before (and before I had the event that caused the injury). When I woke up I realized I was going to have a lot of trouble even walking, much less unloading my car, etc.

I rolled E out of bed and said, "You're coming with me. M will be here later to take you home." I did not know he'd been up until 5 a.m. playing with his gameboy or whatever. He had been conditioned to just do what we all told him so he got up, slept until we got to the event and helped me unload.

He spent the next four or five hours asleep in a steel folding chair, head propped up on his hands but sound asleep. Ahhh youth.

The best thing for me is that Jim came out too, and was able to stay and help me pack up to go home. (Well and I didn't have to deal with my own tables.

The tear hurt for a month or so too. Which was Very Annoying,

#28 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 05:46 AM:

rm @ 16: When I had swine flu last year I had seen maybe 2 episodes of House. During the worst of the illness I dragged a bunch of bedding to the couch, dropped some discs in the player and watched a couple of seasons in less than a week. I'm sure I dozed through a few episodes and after a while some started to blur together but it was comforting. Most House episodes aren't too challenging to the viewer but they're not totally mindless either. And it was good to watch people who were most definitely feeling worse than I was pull through.

#29 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 06:24 AM:

Glad you're feeling better, Patrick.

#30 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 09:37 AM:

Glad to hear you're improving.

I've managed to keep up with email for years -- but that's a combination of filtering and a rule that says that a scrollbar is not allowed to appear on the inbox -- if it does, it's stop, respond and file.

However, that's me, and I know I'm a fast reader -- and I probably get much less email that you, and I have no life.

#31 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Question: what's PSA, in this context? (I do not believe Patrick is making references to his Prostate Specific Antigen count ...)

#32 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2010, 02:51 PM:

Public Service Announcement

#33 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 02:58 AM:

Patrick is too modest to say that even though he was sick himself, he was heroic above and beyond the call, because he repaid my company on his run to his doctor by riding along in the ambulance when I was taken to the ER, and making sure I had what I needed while they kept me overnight doing tests.

It was surprising to learn that watching an episode of House on an iPhone in the hallway of the ER can be an oddly comforting thing to do on a stressful night, but it really was.

#34 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 03:25 AM:

Mary Aileen #32: Public Service Announcement

Patrick Says "Atchoo!!"

#35 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 03:41 AM:

People Supply Alternatives

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 06:14 AM:

Probably Something Awful.

#37 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 06:15 AM:

Please Stop Already!

#38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 06:20 AM:

Puns Strictly Averted.

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 06:42 AM:

Pendrift, Serge, Abi*
Play Semantics As
People Scream And
Produce Satisfyingly Anguished
Postings Saying AAAAAAARGH!


-----
* Sorry, Earl

#40 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 07:11 AM:

Politely stepping away

#41 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 08:06 AM:

Pendrift sits, awestruck.
Presently, she asks
people solemnly about
potentially superior answers
plus some additional
puns. Serge approves.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 08:50 AM:

Poetry Stanzas Abound.

#43 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 12:24 PM:

People Say Anything!

#44 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 09:32 PM:

Plum spoofs avoided.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 09:39 PM:

Plainly Silly Applause!

#46 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 10:00 PM:

Pedants snicker archly.

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 11:01 PM:

Potato Salad Aversion

#48 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Pasta sauce, applied!

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Pullet Surprise Award
(Yes, I was a fan of columnist Herb Caen, why do you ask?)

#50 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 01:59 AM:

abi #39: * Sorry, Earl

Not to worry, this has been particularly splendid, Abi.

#51 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 02:30 AM:

Plentiful Silly Answers

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 05:54 AM:

Patti Smith Aria

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 05:55 AM:

Power Serge Admirer

#54 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 06:16 AM:

After watching "We love xkcd", people sing away!

And a-one, a-two, a-three, a-four and Boomdeyada boomdeyada boomdeyada boomdeyada

#55 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 06:34 AM:

Bleargh. I should not be trying to write a PSA double dactyl this late at night....

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 12:04 PM:

Sooooo...Patrick. ARE you declaring an email DMZ/Amnesty/Bankruptcy/Singularity? Want to remail you something if so, but don't want to pile lead on a drowning man if not.

Post-Scarcity Anarchy
Post-Singularity Attitude
Poly-Specific Association

#57 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 12:49 PM:

People Silly Are

#58 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 07:15 PM:

Earl Cooley III #55: Bleargh. I should not be trying to write a PSA double dactyl this late at night....

I do know that the first "Higgledy-Piggledy" line is probably going to be "PSA: Pee Essay!" but don't know if there is a suitable six syllable word that fits the PSA theme. Each other line was going to consist of a three word phrase with the words starting with the letters p, s, and then a.

That many structural restrictions ratchet up the difficulty level quite a bit.

#59 ::: Christine ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:37 PM:

I have been waiting for warm weather to come...and waiting, and I live in South Florida! I deliberately moved down here because every time it hits 50 degrees or below, my nose bleeds. It has been in the 40s & 50s a lot! Anyway, my doctor checked my lungs and lower and said I had lung crud, but I was a little confused since everywhere I checked on looking it up seems to be about sinuses. I know my sinuses are bleeding, but that wasn't what the doctor was talking about. Can anyone clarify?

#60 ::: Christine ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:38 PM:

I have been sick for 9 weeks and waiting for warm weather to come...and waiting, and I live in South Florida! I deliberately moved down here because every time it hits 50 degrees or below, my nose bleeds. It has been in the 40s & 50s a lot! Anyway, my doctor checked my lungs and lower and said I had lung crud, but I was a little confused since everywhere I checked on looking it up seems to be about sinuses. I know my sinuses are bleeding, but that wasn't what the doctor was talking about. Can anyone clarify?

#61 ::: Renatus sees SPAM at #61 ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 06:27 AM:

As if we wouldn't check the link of someone writing in chatspeak.

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