Monday, January 24, 2011

Book review

Ghost Ocean (Whitechapel, #2)Ghost Ocean by S.M. Peters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

First of all, whoever listed this on Goodreads as "Whitechapel #2) was smoking something that isn't tobacco. This book has absolutely nothing to do with Whitechapel Gods.

Second, Ghost Ocean is not nearly as imaginative as S.M. Peters's first book. In fact, it's pretty much a decently-written Charles de Lint knock-off. Plucky twenty-something in an unspecified North American city must find the magic within her and undergo hideous trials to save the world, etc. If you like that sort of thing, read one of de Lint's books rather than this one.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nibbled to death by ducks

While the storm on the East Coast is causing the city of Atlanta to shut down entirely, here in the Midwest, we're supposed to be used to this, and we're expected to shut up and get on with our lives. While I would like a snow day or two, it usually doesn't bother me to drive into work through a ton of softly falling snow.

However, today was different. First of all, the roads weren't even close to clear. Second, the driver in front of me had his hazards on despite the fact that everyone was driving slowly. Thirdly and possibly most important, I've been off my anti-depressant since Friday. My neuro's office pretty much decided that I don't get refills on either my Lexapro or my Neurontin until I come see the doc and get another MRI.

Yesterday I logged on to the Cleveland Clinic's website and requested appointments for my MRI with sedation and a follow-up with my doc, both to be scheduled on the same day. When I got home, there was a mumbled message on my answering machine saying that I had the MRI on February 8th and the doctor's appointment on February 24th. Of course it was too late to call and reschedule when I got the message, so I listened to it three times and wrote down all the numbers.

After my icky drive in, I took care of the urgent things that needed to be done at the office, then called the number left on my answering machine. I got the main switchboard and some jerk named Michael who got snippy with me for not having enough digits in the extension I'd requested and then for not having even part of the Mellen Center scheduling's extension correct. He put me on hold before I could snap back that I was repeating the number I was given and I was very sorry people had called off work but he didn't need to take it out on me. When he transferred me, the phone line got goofed up and everything had a loud echo to it, including the Clinic ads, hold music, and the person answering my call at scheduling.

The woman who took my call at the scheduling desk was also less than thrilled to help me. At first she tried to tell me that doctors don't allow same day MRIs and follow-ups because the patients aren't coherent. When I told her I'd done it that way for the past six years and if I wasn't coherent, my mom would be coherent for me, since I had to have a driver anyway, she asked why I couldn't do the appointments on two separate days. I tried to explain that A. I have a 45 minute drive one-way from my house to the Clinic and B. Now that they are charging $40 extra every time you set foot on their property, I can't afford more than one visit per year. [Name redacted because it's distinctive] said that it was not her fault about the charges, and anyway, the one-day appointments would be too far apart because MRIs were at 9 or 10 in the morning and then the doctor's appointments were all in the afternoon. I told her that was fine, that's what I always did, which was in my appointment record, which caused her to snap at me that she couldn't read charts.

I asked her to please schedule me for one of those days with a morning MRI and afternoon follow-up, and suddenly the appointments in February and March disappeared and the first thing I could get was April 8th. FINE.

My next call was to the doctor's office, and of course I didn't have his number and had to go by the listing on the Clinic's website, which was for the Neurology Department rather than the Mellen Center. Thankfully, that time I had a real person who cheerfully transferred me.

At the doc's office, I was on hold for a long time, but again I figured they'd had call-offs. When one of the admins answered the phone, I told her that I was out of Lexapro and Neurontin and couldn't get an appointment until April, so could someone please call me about refills? She checked my chart and said, "You requested a refill via e-mail on Monday and we sent it to your pharmacy yesterday." I asked why I hadn't gotten a notification for said refill and she said they don't do notifications any longer (apparently, they expect their patients with memory problems to call the pharmacy until they actually get a refill). At this point, I was upset and frustrated, but managing to hold on to my temper and hold off tears.

My next phone call was to the pharmacy, where I was informed that instead of one month refills on the Lexapro and three month refills on the Neurontin, the doctor's office had gotten it backwards. Oh, yay, time to call the doc again. This time, the tears were a lot closer to the surface, but a different admin swore that they'd call the pharmacy and correct the error.

Right now, I'm afraid to call the pharmacy and check, but I have to admit it will be nice to lie in bed and not have pins and needles in my arms and legs keep me from sleeping, and maybe to be on an even enough keel that I'm not fantasizing about threatening to firebomb a major medical center.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Book Review

Not Less Than Gods (The Company)Not Less Than Gods by Kage Baker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The world in this book is well-constructed, but the characters are more two-dimensional than three, and the plot is more a series of vignettes than a full story. I suspect that readers of The Company series will enjoy the book quite a bit, it just doesn't hold up all that well as a stand-alone novel.

This book was sent to me for review.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Christmas, Act II

Since approximately two-thirds of the family was in Texas on Christmas Day, today was Christmas, Act II. Mom and Dad left Dallas on Thursday and arrived in Columbus around sixish last night. This morning, I locked up the dog and the house and drove down for breakfast and presents.

Anabel made a simple but awesome breakfast of eggs, potatoes, bacon, quiche, muffins and corned beef hash. After demolishing the food, we talked for a bit and then got on with the giving.

I was so excited about the gifts I'd brought that I was practically bouncing, and I made sure that at least two of my gifts were in the first round handed out. I got my nephews those reindeer that poop jelly beans, and that's what they opened first from me. Super Doughnut got two Nintendo DS Club Penguin games, and I got The Awesome Nacho a Halo MegaBloks kit and remote control vehicle. I got Anabel scrubs from Lilypad and Skindecent, and a pretty dark brown cardigan. Mom and Dad got their gifts from me in Texas, but I always give Mom a Santa for Christmas, and I found these earrings from Hummingbird Hill and couldn't resist them. I got Jeeves a book he asked for and a DVD of Hogfather.

I got a pair of purple suede gloves from The Awesome Nacho; a pair of navy velvet and satin slippers from Super Doughnut; a purple plaid shirt, purple vest, purple ruffled scarf, blue and white picture frame, black chenille gloves, green and black chenille Christmas socks and a hand-knitted black and white scarf and hand-knitted boiled wool brown and copper hat from my mom (technically both parents, but yeah, from Mom) and some of my favorite Lush products from Anabel. Mom, Anabel and I all got hand-painted ornaments from Jeeves, a tradition he created years ago and has stuck with ever since.

Of the three of us, Jeeves is the most observant of traditions and the most affected by them. This summer, Mom brought over a bag of stuffed animals she'd found in the attic and assumed were mine. They were actually Jeeves's stuffed animals, including his teddy bear. Then when Captain Crossword was here in October, we were talking about how Dad's mother always had her white and gold candy dish filled with pink wintergreen lozenges, and Jeeves mentioned that he really liked them.

So I decided that my unofficial Christmas gift to my beloved brother was going to be his teddy bear, Gramma H's candy dish, and a bag of pink wintergreen lozenges. Of all the gifts I gave and got, I think that was my favorite, just for the expression on my brother's face when he saw Teddy.