June 22, 2013

Try, Try Again

Posted by Scott at 07:45 AM

Yesterday was another early morning one. Michelle and I got up between 4:30 and 5am. The kids had been coached to get themselves up and off to school on their own. It was their last day of school. Michelle and I were sad that we wouldn't be there when they all got home. I always remember the excitement of when I'd finish a school year. Usually it meant that soon I was on my way to Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin.

We left the house by 5:30 but stopped by an ATM. I'd visited two yesterday that both were out-of-service. We then stopped by Donut Fresh Express for coffee and bagels as Michelle only had a four hour fasting requirement. While it might not be recommended by driver's ed instructors, we grazed on our breakfast on the drive down to Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

We arrived around 7am without major traffic issues. That's part of the reason we leave so early. The drive is tolerably long without traffic. With traffic it can ruin your day. I remember one particularly bad commute there that lasted three hours. But no, today was about 1hr15min. Our appointment wasn't until 10:45am. So after Michelle filled out a bit of new paperwork and had her vitals, I set her up with my trusty old Android tablet to watch the romantic comedy Just like Heaven. It helped her pass the time.

Meanwhile I took out my work laptop and debugged an issue that's been bothering me for a while. I work on the core of the GPU and this issue is related to front end processing and context management. Not my expertise, but with enough breakpoints in Visual Studio, I was getting a handle on what was going on.

They called us early — a rare thing in hospitals. We discussed the new protocol, which MGH has seen good results with. You never know, because each person is different. As they say in basketball, “you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” We met with the nurse and the research assistant. Michelle got a baseline EKG and blood work. Her CT scan from a couple of weeks ago is still valid for this study. We'll start the first infusion either next week or the week after.

I drove us home, letting Michelle rest along the way. Her only request was that we stop at the Chipotle near the state line for lunch. We also stopped to get some frozen coffees at A&E. When we got home the kids were all back and happy to be done with school for the year. Timothy got a copy of The Lightning Thief to read this summer. He's read three other Percy Jackson books in the series. Strangely he's read books two, three, and four but now has the first one.

I wrapped up work on the late side. I hadn't noticed that since we got home, Michelle's stomach was really bothering her. After she called the nurses, they suspected that what has happened is that all of the antibiotics she's been taking since the CT scan have not only kept her safe from infection, but also nuked the good bacteria that help with digestion. They recommended she try to walk and have some yogurts with probiotics to help kick start things inside. I set her up with a couple of episodes of Duck Dynasty on the TV and was updating her netbook when soon got a notice on my phone.

My phone was giving me a notice that Neil, aka sneekylinux on YouTube, was looking to setup a Google Hangout to test his webcam and microphone. Timothy and I have seen a large portion of his video tutorials. And his U.K. accent brings back good memories of when I worked for ARC. I also like that he likes to emphasize keeping old hardware going, as Tim and I have done. So I went upstairs, fired up the laptop, had to do a codec update, but joined him for a call.

Before long it was time to get the boys to bed. It was only then that I realized, if it's this late here, it must be… 2am in the U.K. So we said our goodbyes and I logged out. Michelle said prayers with the twins and I said prayers with Timothy. Since we'd gotten up so early to get to the hospital, I pass out rather quickly.

I did finish another audiobook yesterday. A real one, not a text-to-speech one. This one was the first in a sci-fi series called the Rho Agenda. The first book is titled "The Second Ship" and is available via Audible. It was pretty good, but definitely set you up to buy the next book in the series as little was resolved in book 1. It reminds me of a Dr. Who two-parter, where you're just left hanging. It did make me think though: what if we did suddenly get cold fusion, disrupting the established petroleum exporting countries' riches? What if we did suddenly have nanite technology that could repair the human body at a cellular level? Such disruption has political implications as it destabilizes the way things are. I got the book recommendation from Steve Gibson of the Security Now podcast. In between their technical news they often throw in personal stories about things like what they're reading, watching, etc. Still… I'm not sure whether I'll go get book 2, or try another sci-fi recommendation of his: Antares Dawn.

So here we are: summer is here. In a few more days my nephew William will fly out to visit us for a week. Then when he flies back, Abby and the boys will join him. That might work out well for the initial trips involved with this latest clinical trial.