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March 4, 2013

Posted by Patrick at 05:59 PM * 68 comments

I’ve been sick for nearly three weeks now—first with the evil norovirus, then with a viral lung-and-sinus thing which went bacterial. Teresa has had much the same stuff, in slightly different order. We wound up canceling on Boskone, much to our regret.

I was in the office for some partial days last week, but basically I’m completely behind on everything. If it seems to you that I’m taking even longer than usual to answer your email, return your call, issue your contract, read your story, think about your proposal, write your convention bio, generate your catalog copy, or whatever else it is you’re waiting on me to do, you’re not wrong. It’ll all get done eventually, but service is definitely delayed due to circumstances beyond our control.

I am now taking a course of antibiotics, and reflecting, not for the first time, on the fact that “antibiotic” basically means “poison we take on purpose while hoping it kills only the bad stuff.” Microbial civilizations are dying inside of me. I have no brain.

I’m very tired of this. It can stop any time.

Comments on PSA:
#1 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:08 PM:

My best wishes to both of you for recovery to be in the very near future.

#2 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:15 PM:

Please get well soon.

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:19 PM:

All the best sheep, both of you.

#4 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:29 PM:

I hate lingering colds / grippes / agues / whatever.

I hope recovery happens soon.

Antibiotics Humor:

#5 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:41 PM:

I hate that. I've had things very like that, and am in fact getting over one that was very similar.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

#6 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:42 PM:

I was wondering/worrying. *NHs seemed awfully thin on the ground, of late. (I did a gastric something-or-other a couple of weekends ago, and I'm still catching up.)

Hope things improve for y'all soon!

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 06:49 PM:

Sympathy, and I will refrain form dispensing advice that y'all are capable of figuring out for yourselves.

#8 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:00 PM:

Hmm. Antibiotics as Low-Level Chemotherapy. The analogy doesn't hold up in detail, but the general concept is pretty similar.

#9 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:10 PM:

Sympathies on the evil norovirus, which also zapped me earlier this year, and the nasty lung and sinus thing. Here's hoping the antibiotics help the current situation and you start feeling better soon.

I noticed that Queen Elizabeth was in the hospital during the weekend because she had had a stomach virus for several days, and I wondered if she had also been stricken by the evil norovirus and was in need of rehydration.

#10 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:28 PM:

Karen got hit by norovirus several years ago, and the hospital couldn't figure it out until well after she'd had the ($1000/dose, and the first one often doesn't work) anti-nausea drug -- she reacts badly to the normal anti-nausea drug compazine. Something about snakes under the bed....

Hoping you both feel much better soon!

#11 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:28 PM:

Both of you get well soon, and I look forward to seeing you at FenCon this fall!

#12 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:35 PM:

Argh! I hope you both feel better soon.

#13 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:41 PM:

Thank you all.

If I get over this respiratory thing in time, I'll be able to keep my appointment on Friday, when I'm scheduled to have my left foot taken apart and reassembled in better order. This is trivial compared to the structural repairs and alterations some of you have had to deal with. I'm clear on that. I'm working on the theory that it's like having renovations done on my subway station, only more personal.

If I do anything too weird in the aftermath (say, hypothetically, posting in Middle or Early Modern English), just wave.

#14 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 08:00 PM:

Norovirus is awful. Lung-and-sinus things that go bacterial are awful, too. All of my sympathies, and all of my hopes that the evil germs leave you alone as soon as possible.

#15 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 08:10 PM:

Ah, sorry, sorry. Feel better soon. Fluids, rest, you know the drill.

#16 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 08:32 PM:

TNH @13: That is, hypothetically speaking, a particularly Teresa version of "weird".

Best wishes for both getting to the surgery and having it go well, and for your foot being significantly improved by the result.

#17 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:14 PM:

Brooks @13:

I'm not sure that even counts as weird, for Teresa. She was writing Chaucerian jokes on the wall at SFContario I.

(Note - there was a sheet of paper on the wall. No vandalism took place.)

#18 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:28 PM:

Horton heard a Cipro apocalypse?

Get well, you two.

#19 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:37 PM:

Good healing wishes to you both.

#20 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:39 PM:

Lung and Sinus thing trading back and forth here to. I fought it off in about a week, but managed to give it back (or a new, worse respiratory thing) to Her Smallness. She's been knocked out of work for almost a week, and the antibiotics, while effective, caused her to be dermatologically sensitive to our dog. Which she hated. But that's cleared up. And the cough is gone. So we might be back!

#21 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:54 PM:

This is a watchbird watching a teltapperphoner. This is a teltapperphoner teltapperphoning a watchbird. This is a watchbird watching a watchbird. This is a watchbird watching you.

#22 ::: Sarah Wynde ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:59 PM:

I took my kid to the doctor today. It was hard to explain that yes, I know he's got just a cold, and that it looks like just a cold, and that the symptoms are just a cold, but that he's been sick for a miserable six weeks and give him the f'ing drugs already! These really long lasting winter things are the worst. I hope you feel better soon and that your antibiotics (and my boy's antibiotics) do their job and kill the misery!

#23 ::: Teka Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 10:51 PM:

Oh dear. That's a lot of truly nasty stuff to have to deal with. Get well soon!

#24 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little's been gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 12:22 AM:

Argh. "A viral lung-and-sinus thing which went bacterial" sounds awfully familiar. What is up with this season's infection profile? Get will soon, *NHs, and also everyone else.

#25 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 02:37 AM:

Get well soonest!

#26 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 03:43 AM:

Somehow "a course of antibiotics" sounds like something that should be followed up with an exam or term paper, a grade, and maybe a diploma.

Or maybe I spent too many years in school. (Oddly, this is one reason I did *not* become a doctor, which is What I Want[ed] To Be When I Grow Up when I was in grade school.)

Get well soon, Patrick! (And Teresa if she's still going through the same.) Here's hoping the antibiotic passes the test!

#27 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 05:14 AM:

My sympathies! I've just got over the nasty messy cough-thing, which has been superseded by the onset of hay-fever. My voice is back in time for me to sing some lovely Britten on Saturday.

I often wonder about the doctrine of Penal-Substitutionary Atonement, though. I hope no-one here is needing a Prostate-Specific Antigen. That would be a real PITA.

My coat! Thank you!

#28 ::: tykewriter visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 05:16 AM:

Derbyshire oatcakes, your Lownesses?

#29 ::: supergee ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 06:04 AM:

But you can also get probiotics. Obviously, there are two sides to every question.

#30 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 06:12 AM:

If you guys need anything brought out to you from the Flatiron or any other Manh location, let me know. I'm serious. I haven't had my Brooklyn bike ride in ages. Well, a couple weeks anyway.

#31 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 07:10 AM:

I hope you both feel better soon.

#32 ::: arianrose ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 08:39 AM:

Oh, yuck! Here's hoping you and Teresa kick it quickly.

...And I had much the same thought when my partner was in chemo. "We're going to give this to you, and hope it kills the cancer before it kills you." The only thing that saved that idea was "well, it's better than the alternative."

#33 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 08:51 AM:

Sympathies and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Patrick, Teresa and all others suffering with yucky abdominal and/or respiratory and/or other-system infections or other illnesses at present. There's been a lot of it going around this winter.

#34 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 09:45 AM:

Here's hoping you both a quick recovery. Teresa, if you commit wierdness post foot reassembly, we will doubtless be thoroughly boggled and bemused.

#35 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 09:51 AM:

Sounds nasty. Hope you feel better soon!

#36 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:09 AM:

There are more ugly illnesses running around this winter than I can remember in a while. Concentrate on feeling better, both of you.

#37 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:18 AM:

Best wishes to you both. Illness is never fun. Illness north of fifty is even less fun.

#38 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:23 AM:

Sending you both virtual chicken soup and hopes you get over the crud soon. And good luck with the foot thing, T.

#39 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:38 AM:

Ugh, feel better soon, the both of you. January/February sucked for our household too, for similar reasons. Come on, spring!

#40 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 01:26 PM:

I've been lucky so far, just the common garden variety cold. My Mom, however, got the lung and sinus thing which then became pneumonia...she recovered from the latter, but still has a cough...sigh.

Fingers crossed that we don't get blessed with the norovirus. I've done that one once (many years ago), and do not desire a repetition of the experience.

And we're told the Snowquester is bearing down on us. We may get as much as six inches of snow. I'll believe that when it's actually on the ground.

Here's to all those suffering the ills of the season. May you speedily return to good health!

#41 ::: Lori Coulson has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 01:28 PM:

Somehow I think I screwed up the punctuation...have a hot cross bun?

#42 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 02:09 PM:

Feel better soon. I think antibiotics are designed to be selective in their targets, let alone not active against viruses. (I've had good luck with them. Hope they take out anything in you within their designed target range.)

#43 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 02:32 PM:

Ugh. My wife had norovirus a while back and she said it's literally the worst thing she's ever had. And she's had salmonella, mono, and cat-scratch-fever, so she knows from terrible!

Glad y'all are recovering!

#44 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 02:45 PM:

Hope you all feel better soon. I've got a toddler who's in day care, which means that we've got illnesses galore. I've had two bouts with what was probably norovirus this fall, and we've all had colds since Christmas. Right now I'm in the third week of a nasty cough, which is finally improving a bit. My little one just finished a course of antibiotics for an ear infection. I can't wait til this season is over!

#45 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 03:27 PM:

lori @ #41

You should cool your rabbit down and enrol it for anger management classes.

#46 ::: Dawn Bonanno ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 04:02 PM:

Hope you guys feel better soon! :(

#47 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:16 PM:

Hope you get better soon! Being sick sucks....

Sarah Wynde #22:

AFAIK, "He's been sick for six weeks" is or should be, an entirely sufficient rebuttal to "it's just a cold". If, after hearing that, the doctor continued to say "it's just a cold", it may be time to find another doctor.

Unfortunately, the longer duration does not mean it's a bacterial infection. And I don't know how many of the viral candidates have useful diagnostic tests. Bacterial candidates can be spotted more easily, but that does take some time.)

#48 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:35 PM:

My best wishes for steadily improving health to both of you. And T, I hope that the room stops spinning and hallucinatory automobile accidents stay out of your way long enough to get your foot reconstructed.

#49 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:43 AM:

Huh. Back in mid-December I came down with the "cold" that was doing the rounds in Edinburgh. At least, it started out like a head-cold; cough, runny nose, you know the drill. It began to clear up, but after a week it came back. Rinse, spin, repeat, 3-4 times. And then the post-viral weakness hit. I had a whole month of having to take 2-3 hour afternoon naps, plus aching joints and weakness. I'm still not 100% over the damn thing. I'd have mistaken it for influenza, except for the lack of fever and musculoskeletal aches during the acute phase.

I'm not the only person I know who's had this thing in Edinburgh; it seems to be doing the rounds this winter (along with a hideous norovirus epidemic in Scotland -- which I've been lucky enough to dodge: at its peak it apparently affected one in four of the population).

All I can recommend is tea, sympathy, and lots of afternoon naps. Oh, and Advil™ or similar for the aches and pains (subject to medical advice).

Note on antibiotics: yes, they're a bit like chemotherapy agents, except they target intracellular components that bacteria possess and multi-cellular organisms (like us) don't. But don't underestimate the effects they have on your normal commensal gut bacteria!

#50 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:05 AM:

@49 Charlie Stross

It's been making the rounds here (Montreal) as well; I'm on my 3rd week of it. That it pretty much followed up on a different cold I had over the Xmas/New Year season isn't making it any better. I'm working on my 3rd consecutive month of "ill".

#51 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 12:01 PM:

We had the Neverending Cold as well; it was making the rounds in New York state around Christmas.

I had a theory that it was a flu virus that was an okay-but-not-great match to the flu vaccine this year. I knew a few people that got knocked sideways by the flu who hadn't gotten the shot. Everyone else was merely knocked diagonal, which was plenty bad.

#52 ::: MNiM ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:24 PM:

I hope you both feel better soon.

But... I also have to say that I really loved this line: Microbial civilizations are dying inside of me. I could hear the lamentation of their women.

#53 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:57 PM:

Hmm, MNiM. Maybe not. But you CAN see them driven before you! #Yuck

#54 ::: MNiM ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 08:04 AM:

@53 Xopher Halftongue -- I genuinely LOL'd.

#55 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 08:47 AM:

TChem #51: I had a theory that it was a flu virus that was an okay-but-not-great match to the flu vaccine this year.

Not unlikely... "making the perfect the enemy of the good" really doesn't work for vaccines.

#56 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 11:07 AM:

Dave Harmon @55: There's no such thing as a perfect flu vaccine, because those things mutate like it's going out of style, plus we can never predict exactly which ones are going to be popular this year. It's always a crap shoot, and one of the later-developing strains may indeed be only a slight match for the vaccines. Other organisms are less mutable, therefore the vaccines do a better job of protection.

#57 ::: charming quark ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 02:05 PM:

For my money, Neverending Cold = Bronchiolitis (aka RSV). 6-8 weeks of exhaustion, severe cough and endless noseblowing.

Feel better soon, you two!

#58 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 02:11 PM:

MNiM @#52: OK, I have to find that pattern again. Or recreate it.

I did the quote up as a sampler with lots of elaborate stitchery once. "Lamentations" is a long, long word.

#59 ::: MNiM ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 04:39 PM:

Carrie S. @58 -- that sounds awesome. I wish I was crafty! That sounds like my kind of sampler.

(Though it would probably be honest to say that I wish I didn't have such tragically low frustration tolerance. I suspect that's the real sticking point.)

"Lamentations" is a long, long word.

You know, I never noticed this until now, but it's also a really nice word, especially given what it means. (Is there an opposite to word aversion?) It strikes me as aesthetically pleasing to both the eye and ear. "Melancholy" is a bit like that too, though more to ear I suppose. I wonder why that is?

#60 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 10:56 PM:

Sympathies & hope you feel better soon!

#61 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 06:06 PM:

On the opposite of word aversion: To me the most beautiful word in the French language is malheuresement, but it means "unfortunately".

#62 ::: MNiM ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 10:04 AM:

Allan Beatty @61, funny you should mention that -- I've forgotten most of my school-learned French, but malheuresement is one I still use, and fairly regularly.

#63 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 12:39 PM:

J.R.R. Tolkien used to say that the most beautiful word in the English language, considered without regard to meaning, was "cellar-door".

#64 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 12:54 PM:

H. Allen Smith once listed a group of words that had been listed as the most pleasant in the English language in the 40's. I remember the first two were Cellophane and Underwear, because they're a nice change of pace to start your double-dactylic if you're bored with "Higgilty-Piggilty."

#65 ::: Cassy B. spots spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 08:22 PM:

Bruce @64

Cellophane Underwear!
What a calamity
A fashion statement
That should have been scrapped.

Therefore, a model, quite
Told the photographer
"Not nude; nor wrapped"

#66 ::: Cassy B. does NOT spot spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 08:25 PM:

Sorry; forgot to change my nym

#67 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 01:28 AM:

Cassy B: Very nice (exclamation point in text to avoid the gnomes).

#68 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 08:59 AM:

Bruce @67, well, somebody had to do it, and "Underwear Cellophane" didn't spark any ideas...

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