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March 1, 2018

Adventures in being me
Posted by Patrick at 06:21 PM * 60 comments

It’s been a time.

One evening in mid-November, Teresa tried to say something to me, and it came out as fractured phonemes, broken language, the kind of thing that says “get me to an ER without delay.” TL,DR: It wasn’t a stroke, but we may have averted one by getting her to the ER as fast as we did. She was in the hospital for several days. We still don’t have a full diagnosis.

In late November, my youngest brother (I’m the eldest of three brothers) died in a hospice after years of hard living, age 52. We weren’t close, but he was my brother. I was…knocked off balance by it. I’m 59 and this was the first time I lost a close family member. To those of you who’ve been through this particular one-way door at an earlier age: Respect.

In December I got shingles. I’m still not completely over it, but as far as I can recall I spent late December and most of January in a haze of pain and dissociation. I was out of the office for the better part of four weeks, and I still haven’t completely caught up. Life advice: Don’t get shingles.

In early January we learned that our landlord of nearly 14 years was, at long last, selling our building to someone who wants to make it a single-family home. Our deadline for getting out was the end of March.

In early February we found a terrific apartment in a much more pleasant Brooklyn neighborhood. But while it’s not tiny, it’s smaller than our current place, so we’ve been in WEED OUT ALL THE THINGS mode for about three weeks now. Our lease on the new apartment begins today, and we aspire to be actually living there by the second half of March.

And in the fullness of time, today this happened. It’s a lot of change, even more than this was, back in 2016.

What can I say? I’m fortunate in my colleagues. I’m even more fortunate in my employees. Also, watch this space.

Comments on Adventures in being me:
#1 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 06:58 PM:

Congratulations and sympathies and good luck with dealing with so many changes all at once.

#2 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 07:33 PM:

Congratulations on the promotion! Sorry to hear about your illness, Teresa's illness, and the loss of your brother. Good luck with the move.

That is, indeed, a time.

#3 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 07:59 PM:

Wow, sorry to hear about all the turmoil and tumult and sadness and illness. Best of luck with the move and congratulations on the promotion, which hopefully will start an upward trajectory in your lives again!

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 08:45 PM:

Patrick, I've had shingles twice. It's something I'd only wish on people I hated. (Antivirals can help. But it's still not going to be fun.)

#5 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 08:50 PM:

Sympathies on the shingles, and congratulations on your promotion!

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 10:22 PM:

Good to hear what's going on, even when not all of it is good. Thank you for letting us know.

#7 ::: HoosierDragon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2018, 10:56 PM:

When I went to my mother for dinner one night, I found she was talking in random words and phrases, kind of like what you're describing with Teresa. I did the hospital thing, too, also thinking it might be a stroke. It turned out she wasn't drinking enough water and was suffering an electolyte imbalance.

#8 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 01:25 AM:

Good to hear from you, Patrick.

I had a sister – she and Teresa shared their birthday, actually. She and I were not just "not close": all during our childhoods we actively disliked each other. ("Hated" is too strong a word. But not by much.) Our relations warmed a bit in adulthood, but...never close. And then she committed suicide. (Not quite fifteen years ago now.)

It hit me a great deal harder than I would have thought. No, I didn't like her – but she was still my sister. "Knocked off balance" is a good way to put it. On my LJ at the time, someone said to me, "May you be comforted." I appreciated those words, and offer them in turn to you.

Sympathies and best wishes also on the various health issues, and on having to move at short notice.

Congratulations on the promotion. "Watch this space"? Will do.

#9 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 06:57 AM:

Congratulations on the most recent news, commiserations on the preceding.

(I had shingles when I was eleven — youngest case my family doctor had ever seen — and it sucked, even though apparently it gets more serious with age and I was only really bad for a week.)

#10 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 08:28 AM:

That is quite a lot, and even the good things pile on. I'm glad that life seems to be leveling out a bit.

#11 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 08:58 AM:

Congratulations on the promotion! Sympathy and good luck on the rest.

#12 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 11:07 AM:

Okay, enough with the excitement. Here are your assignments:

1) Both of you have at least a year (why not two?) of good health. No argument.

2) Enjoy the new space.

3) Aim for a year where the only excitement is good excitement (awards, kudos, good work, etc.)

Also: huge congratulations.

#13 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 11:07 AM:

There is a shingles vaccine. I badgered my doctor into giving it to me as soon as I learned of it. (I had had the world's mildest case of shingles, but...)

#14 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 11:20 AM:

Pfusand (13): There's a new shingles vaccine, too, which appears to be more effective than the original one and which is recommended starting at age 50 not 60. I intend to ask my doctor about it at my checkup next month.

#15 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 12:22 PM:

Also congratulations!

#16 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 12:28 PM:

Teresa and Patrick, my best wishes for both of you in a roller-coaster of a time. Condolences and congrats where all are due.

Those discussing the vaccine: I just asked my physician recently about shingles. I'm in my mid-thirties and had chicken pox as a kid. She said that, since I am not immunocompromised, insurance won't cover the shingles vaccine for me till I'm in my fifties at least, and so I'd have to pay out of pocket and that'd be something like $300 (USD). I feel like now I should add "not-yet-necessary vaccines that would improve my peace of mind" to my list of luxury experiences I can do if I get rich, like sumptuous spa treatments and VIP seats at concerts.

#17 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 01:18 PM:

Re shingles vaccine, when I saw my doc a few weeks ago we talked about this. She said that the new vaccine was not yet available (in our area, maybe?) and if I got the original one they would recommend I get the new one when it was available anyway because it's more protective. So we decided I would get it when I see her again in the summer. (I turned 60 last year.)

#18 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 01:46 PM:

The old shingles vaccine was about $230 two years ago, but it was also covered by ACA. (It is NOT covered by Medicare.)

#19 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 06:11 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @16:

I wonder what my doctor/insurance would say. I got a trivial case of shingles, not very painful, when I was a teenager (say 25-30 years ago). Since I have it in my medical history, would that make the insurance consider it?

Probably not.

#20 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 07:11 PM:

Patrick: I'm glad Teresa's recovered, I hope your recovery is complete soon, congratulations on your promotion, and commiserations on the loss of your brother.

According to this January 2018 NYT article, the old shingles vaccine was reportedly about 50% effective, which I didn't know. I've been blithely assuming I was pretty well protected from the time I got it at age 60. The new one comes in two rounds several months apart and may or may not yet be covered by various insurance carriers including Medicare.

#21 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 07:49 PM:

All that going on and new work responsibilities? I think I'd have crumped under that even when I was a lot younger. Commiserations and congratulations, as appropriate. (I've had family turbulence, but the closest premature loss was my oldest friend, at age 53, and that was more than wrenching enough; particular sympathies for this.) I'm particularly pleased to see Foy moving up people from inside; if I'd seen his line about Tor being a "boutique" publisher out of context, I'd be worried about an outside team of Jack Welch or Chainsaw Al clones coming in for the kill, but it looks like I should still give not-really-my-style books a second look if they have the Tor on their spine.

Madeleine Robins @ 12: +1. or +>>1; there's been quite enough chaos recently.

#22 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2018, 10:38 PM:

I'd wondered why everything had gone so silent here. A multitude of reasons, it appears.

#23 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 12:38 AM:

Wow, that's a lot. Congratulations and commiserations.

#24 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 02:40 AM:

Uff da! A time indeed! May this next time be more pleasant and tranquil.

#25 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 04:27 AM:

I know some of you may know Eileen Lopp or Idgecat. This is her wife of thirty years. Eileen has died suddenly. I think she hung out here--I hung out on Facebook, but I know she didn't go there much, even though she had a presence.

If anyone wants to contact me for more information, my email is starshadow6666 AT gmail dot com
My name is Starshadow

Sorry for the offtopic post but I don't know the protocol and I don't know how active she was. I just wanted to get the word out. She died March 1st.


#26 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 08:28 AM:

I asked about shingles vaccines when I saw my doctor this week. (I've had it. Not fun. And, no, that didn't make me immune.)

The old one is "not effective enough". The new one is still "experimental" (or, good luck with your insurance covering it).

She recommended I wait a year.

#27 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 11:20 AM:

Starshadow, I'm so very sorry for your loss.

#28 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 12:34 PM:

Starshadow (25), I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for letting us know.

#29 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 09:35 PM:

Starshadow, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 10:18 PM:

I figured that anything that might give me a little more advantage the next time was worth it.

#31 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2018, 10:31 PM:

idgecat #25: Starshadow, my condolences, and thanks for informing us. Eileen was not a prolific commenter, but the comments I do see on her "view all by" list are pertinent and interesting, each well-engaged with the discussion of the moment.

#32 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2018, 12:51 PM:

Thanks, guys. Eventually I have to move this computer--leaving it up under her configuration until I get the surrounding room clear.

I am on Facebook if anyone wants to friend me

Or again reachable by email as above.

I am having to move in a couple months. So I'm doing a massive cleanup/cleanout.

I will miss her my whole life.

#33 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2018, 04:15 PM:

Starshadow, thank you very much for taking the time to let us know -- I know this is a difficult time for you, doubly so with the move, and I want to acknowledge your grace and thoughtfulness.

#34 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2018, 06:11 PM:

Patrick: commiserations and congratulations, as appropriate.

Starshadow: my deepest condolences to you.

#35 ::: Ellen Asher ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2018, 11:17 PM:

Patrick, I'm so sorry about your brother. It's always hard, however close one may or may not have been. But congratulations on the promotion. And best wishes to Teresa.

#36 ::: Lucy ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2018, 07:56 AM:

Just laughed my head off reading the knitting recipe for the Infundibulum. Thank you. I hope Teresa feels better soon.

#37 ::: Lucy ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2018, 07:57 AM:

Just laughed my head off reading the knitting recipe for the Infundibulum. Thank you. I hope Teresa feels better soon.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2018, 01:56 PM:

Life is a wondrous monster of many facets. Congratulations and condolences both.

#39 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2018, 03:35 AM:

It's really good to live in a time when "It wasn’t a stroke, but we may have averted one by getting her to the ER" is a thing people can actually say.

#40 ::: Allina willson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 04:39 AM:


#41 ::: SunflowerP sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 05:03 AM:

Probable spam @40.

#42 ::: C. Wingate sees obvious spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 05:23 AM:

a phone number even?

#43 ::: P J Evans sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 10:02 AM:

at 40 - obvious spam is obvious - the URL in the name is "Microsofthelpnumbers"

#44 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 06:43 PM:

Well, that is a lot. Good luck and well wishes.

#45 ::: Icosahedron ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 07:01 PM:

Micros of the what?

#46 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2018, 07:13 PM:

LP numbers, Icosahedron -- it's about tiny robots that run around on LPs (remember long-playing records?) and re-record the musical numbers so that they can be digitized without the clicks and pops that usually show up when trying to digitize from analog media. It's a useful service for a few people who have recordings that haven't been digitized yet.

Either that, or they're referring to the catalog numbers of various LPs -- not entirely sure.

#47 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2018, 11:06 AM:

HyperLocalNews: Random internet person, formerly of this parish, pokes head in the door to announce that, several years after wandering off to address personal crisis, religious flavor, completion of divinity degree is imminent (barring further unforeseen complications.)

I've been lurking. I'm glad y'all are still here, even though I'm not around much. Sounds like it's been a wild ride all around. Thank you (yes, /you/, but especially Patrick and Teresa and Abi) for keeping the doors open and the lights on.

#48 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2018, 12:47 PM:

Glad to hear it, Thena!

#49 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2018, 01:06 PM:

Also glad to hear it, Thena.

And checking your VAB led me back to some enjoyable threads from several years ago.

#50 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2018, 02:46 PM:

Congratulations and condolences, Patrick. May your coming year be restful.

Starshadow, my condolences on your loss. Thank you for letting us know.

Thena, congratulations on your achievement!

#51 ::: Mike Palecek ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2018, 10:28 AM:

The Mid-April SPRING! Issue
"Why Don't 'Liberals' Want THE TRUTH?"

Penn Magazine is named in honor of Penn Jones Jr., one of the first honest researchers into the John Kennedy murder by the U.S. deep state, which was the opening big event, leading to the murders of Martin King and Robert Kennedy, Oklahoma City, 9/11, Sandy Hook, Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, etc.

Go here to read Penn Magazine:

Issues also available here in flip-page format:

Thank you.

Mike Palecek, editor
Chuck Gregory, publisher

*Please forward this note to others if you are feeling groovy.

*Please write to Mike if you do not want to receive these notices:


All issues of Penn Magazine accessible at

Also at in flip-page format

#52 ::: Lee sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2018, 11:08 AM:

Conspiracy-theory "deep state" word salad @51.

#53 ::: Wendy M. Grossman ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2018, 09:28 AM:

Sorry to hear about the illnesses and the losses...but glad everyone's recuperating. I'd been wondering why the long silence.


#54 ::: Bill Stewart sees spam also ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2018, 04:58 PM:

Hi, Gnomes! I agree with Lee that #51 by Mike Palacek looks like spam.

#55 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2018, 07:01 PM:

Wow. You've been through a lot. My sympathies, condolences, and congratulations on surviving.

#56 ::: Lee sees possible spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2018, 07:39 PM:

VAB shows only the one comment @55 above. Might be a lurker delurking, but worth checking.

#57 ::: Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2018, 08:27 AM:

This article made me cry!

#58 ::: joann sees spam at 57 ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2018, 10:03 AM:

Same VAB--only 2 entries ever--as "Elina"s comment on thread 220

#59 ::: P J Evans sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2018, 10:39 AM:

57 is spam; I don't think 55 is - it's on topic - but it could be a spam probe.

#60 ::: Jim Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2018, 06:49 PM:

Patrick, I haven't checked your site for some months, so I'm just finding out about yours and Teresa's illnesses and the loss of your brother. And your having to move and downsize. My sympathies, but also congratulations on your promotion at work (is this your first time as a vice-president? Is there a corner office, or some such perk?). I hope that after all the difficulties and tumult, life is flowing more easily for you and Teresa now.

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