And it’s time to catch you guys up a bit on the inner circle of life here at Just One More Page… (Can you stand the suspense? I thought you could.)
So – my face pain has made its return back to chez moi. (See my earlier post about my trigeminal neuralgia journey here.)
START OF MEDICAL TALK HERE: (Just leap over this if it’s really boring. I won’t mind. I’m just trying to bring more awareness to this pretty rare medical situation, but I understand if you’d rather do something else than read about it. Just jump down a few parags and normal blogging will resume.)
It seems that my Christmas brain surgery hasn’t really worked as my pain has returned. (It actually returned after about six weeks, so mid-February.) It’s a tad disappointing as that Microvascular Decompression (MVD) brain surgery usually has an 80% success rate.
(Excuse me a second or two whilst I use some creative language to express my feelings about this: *(^&^*))*%#@@^&*. This could go on for much longer, but I fear not everyone would appreciate that, and I think you probably may empathize with that frustration.)
But so, as this MVD didn’t seem to work, there are a few other options still to try and my surgeon’s willing to try, so at the end of the month, I’m having a Radio-Frequency Rhizotomy which is where you’re put under very fast anesthesia, the surgeon sticks a needle into the soft palate of your upper mouth (close to where the recalcitrant nerve is) and then wakes you briefly to see if they are hitting the right nerve in the right place, you say yay or nay, then the doc puts you back under into the world of anesthesia again, they do some electrical stimulation (I think) that damages the nerve and then you wake up all nice, happy and pain-free (I hope). That’s the plan for the end of the month, so I’m hoping that that works. If not, we’ll find another approach. Fingers crossed.
END OF MEDICAL TALK.
Onto happier things:
It’s Spring Break on campus this week, which means that the campus is mostly empty (of both students and faculty) and so life is much calmer both in the office and outside. This has been fabbo great and I’m managing to get some work done on one or two of those “One Day…” projects. It’s really cool, actually.
Outside work, all is going smoothly as well. The weather is a bit bipolar at the moment: freezing temps when we wake up, and then 70’s when we leave the office at 5p so it’s sort of “ski-jackets and shorts” type of season. 🙂 Certainly no complaining from my camp though as just a month or two more, and it will be hot temps and they stay around for months (at least until Oct most years). I am really enjoying this shoulder season of medium temps!
Reading, naturally: I’ve just finished two books, for which I was going to grace you with some mini-reviews but as I started writing about them, I discovered I had more to say. (You know how it is sometimes.) So – review of one of them is still to come.
The other title that I finished up the other was “Saturday for Funerals” by Unity Dow and Max Essex, and this title covers the state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana. (I’ve been having some rather *serious* reading lately, haven’t I?)
The title “Saturdays are for Funerals” comes from a reference that in Botswana, funerals are traditionally held on Saturdays and for a while there, there were so many funerals happening (due to HIV) that it was difficult to do chores or anything else. So many people (and their extended families) were being affected that it had become part of the regular routine of the week, like work.
This book was actually a more optimistic read than I had thought it was going to be. Botswana, as a country, has had some effective governance during the time when this book was written, and both of the authors are deeply involved with HIV/AIDS, Dow as a judge (helping families w HIV/AIDS) and then Essex as an infectious disease physician at Harvard. They both have worked together on various projects, and the book had sections written by both of them throughout its chapters.
I’m happy to read work by co-authors if the different pieces flow together in a coherent way, but I’m afraid that this wasn’t the case for this book. Unity Dow is a judge in Gabarone, a large city in Botswana, and she works very closely with city residents (and families) and her writing was more of a casual nature and detailed the cases and how they were adjudicated. Max Essex, on the other hand, is a physician with Harvard and writes to a more academic audience, so his approach is clinical, scientific-based and removed, so the two authors had quite a contrast between them.
For the most part, I didn’t mind having such vastly different approaches to this large public health problem – there’s multiple sides to the issues, after all. However, after a while, the contrast became a barrier to the reading experience, and I rather wish that a neutral editor had come in and smoothed out the parts a bit. Still, it was good information, and it was great to have a book about the proactive steps that one African country is doing to address HIV (and other public health issues), and how they have been working.
So, a bit of a mixed bag here, but if you’re interested in HIV/AIDS or other public health challenges (and some successes), this would be a good read. Botswana was greatly impacted by HIV early in the epidemic years – WHO had estimated that 85% of fifteen-year-olds in this country would die of AIDS – and it’s good to hear positive news about how this was (and is being) addressed by their health care providers and educators.
Another quick read was Tattoo Street Style by the blog The Tattoorialist. I had thought it was going to be more of a graphic design look at actual tattoos, and there was some of that, but it was mostly a look at people who are serious tattoo people who are into major body art. So there was lots of tattoo pictures, and then some extra about the person who was actually wearing the tattoos. Interesting – just not the book that I had thought it was going to be (and that’s ok.)
So life is good here at Just One More Page. Read on, my friends, read on.