Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Postcard from the, uh, easy chair.

When stressed, I'm one of those who hunkers down with some knitting and ignores the world and acts a lot frazzled. So, y'know, that's what I've been doing. The hub helped out by getting me a Kindle for my birthday, thereby facilitating the knit-while-reading escapism. Not a lot to report. But I'll throw in a book review!


I saw my brother, um, Sunday. Going back to Ohio to visit him tomorrow. He's doing as well as can reasonably be expected, under the circumstances. Maybe it's my EMT training and ER volunteering, but he looked better than I expected to. (The husbeast said the same thing, but he's also had emergency medicine training, and seen some very grim things.) I was a little freaked out because his fingers and toes were green, thinking bad circulation. But it turns out they used something green to disinfect him before surgery and practically bathed him in it. Right then. He's in a medically induced coma while his body gets itself together, and really, if someone cracked my chest open, I'd rather skip the aftermath. Everyone keeps saying they want him to wake up, and I'm thinking "nooooo, let him rest. The pain will hit soon enough."

I mentioned to my brother's best friend that my bro needs to recover so I can yell at him. (My brother has not been living what you could call a healthy life.) Best Friend gave me a fist bump and told me he's been taking photos of my brother in critical condition with tubes coming and going, and will flash them at my brother as needed to inhibit further stupidity. I like that guy.

If he croaks, I have no doubt my mother is waiting right this moment in the afterlife, ready to give him grief over all the cigarettes he smoked. If he ever gets caught lighting up in this life, ever again, one of us may kill him. Or at least stuff a lit cigarette up his nose.

The husbeast is waiting to tease my brother about doing the 'rock star method' of quitting smoking. There was someone, Keith Richards, maybe? back in the seventies who overdosed and spent weeks in a coma. When he woke up, all the nicotine withdrawal was over, and he never started up again. It looks like my brother will be doing that method. Extreme, but effective.

Short version, all is not well, but it's as well as could be expected.


I've knit an alleged pair of socks. The ball bands claim that they are knit with yarn from the same dye lot. If that is true, I will eat both of them. They do not match. I'm not that picky about matching socks, but I'm irritated when ball bands lie to me. I'll get a photo and post it soon. Have begun on another pair of socks. I begin to see the appeal of this whole sock knitting thing. Taken me twenty years, but yeah. It's cool. Keeps my hands busy so I don't kill people.

Really need to get that tee shirt.


For those of you who think my Vogue Knitting reviews come too far and few between, and wish for further hilarity, I have found a web site for you. "Shine". It's some Yahoo thing. Their fashion 'channel' contains lots of stuff that, well, sounds like it was written by me. Current editor's pick, an article entitled "The Dumbest Thing You Can Do To Your Boobs". I need say no more.


Other than novels on my kindle, I have been reading "At Home" by Bill Bryson.

"A short history of private life", it says on the cover, and that's what it is. Bryson is a favorite of mine all the way back to college part one, when I discovered his book "Mother Tongue" in the campus book store. He is always entertaining, and has a gift for personalizing history, and making everyday lives of people in the past understandable to those of us today. I'm only about a third of the way through, and he's already boggled my mind several times. Food, servants, lighting, technology, you name it, he mashes it all together into a coherent whole like no one else I've ever met.

I definitely suggest it for anyone interested in history. Or anthropology. Or sociology. You get the idea.


I'm rambling. I'm freaked. I'm gonna go knit a sock. But I thought I'd let everyone know, I'm still chugging along.

If you smoke? Quit. If not for you, do it for all the people who will worry if you do something like my brother's doing now.

I had to say that.


Anonymous said...

Having grown up in a cloud of second-hand smoke, I have never had the urge. My hub did when I met him but he quit 25 years ago. While stress itself is bad for you, I'm glad you have socks to help relieve it.
My security word is telling 'stent'

Mandy said...

I've never understood the appeal of smoking either - my mom and best friend's parents smoked all through my childhood and I had no control over it. When I got married and pregnant I told my in-laws that I would neither enter their house while I was pregnant nor allow my child to enter their house after he was born if they continued to smoke in it. They took it outside after that and eventually my MIL quit (my FIL died of metastatic lung cancer a few years ago).

I made my niece a pair of socks a couple of years ago with Paton's Kroy FX, which I think has some really pretty colors, but I had to go through an entire bin of the stuff to find two that matched in tone, even though they all had the same dye lot number! I expected fraternal socks, not identical, because of the randomness of the striping, but I did expect them to have the same colors in them!

My security word is "therst" - I think I'll go get a glass of water now.

Emily said...

I was lucky enough to quit smoking some thirty-odd years ago. I don't lecture smokers, because I remember how terrified I was of smoking and yet absolutely unable to quit. I suspect the same is true of most smokers.

I do hope your brother wakes up past the withdrawal. Then all he'll be faced with is the other stuff, like what to do with his hands in a social situation or some other way to fidget.

I never knew how wonderful handknit socks are until I'd made myself some. Wow. Make some for your brother. Right now you can measure his feet without needing permission!

Louiz said...

I had a (single) ball of sock yarn, one of those that you can knit a whole pair out of, and knitted one sock very happily. Due to the way the yarn was dyed, it had lovely stripes I thought I could match on the second so I would have my first ever actual identical hand knitted pair. So after a knot early on the second sock, I was really cross to find it was a completely different dye lot and instead of going blue green red orange (what? I like those colours!) it went white green white pink. I sent it back.

Glad your brother is not as bad as you thought, and yeah, those withdrawals are bad, silver lining to get it out of the way while you're in a coma!

Anne-Marie said...

Yes, I watched all the bad things that happen to you as smoking took a toll on my Dad for years (he also worked for Philip Morris, Oy). He didn't have a heart attack or lung cancer, but did have diabetes, high blood pressure, other heart disease, arthritis, serious lung infections from time to time all made much worse by the smoking. I don't lecture, I just say to people, you know that you shouldn't smoke and I'll tell you about my Dad if you would like... Best wishes for your brother.

Anonymous said...

Bryson is one of my favourites! I'm currently re-reading the first of his I read, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and have a yen to buy the accompanying coffee table book. I remember it had gorgeous glossy pictures. Need to get this one, too. But I'm trying first to fill the hole left by buying a new Macbook...
All the best for your brother!

Roxie said...

Addictions suck! My dad and my twin brother drank themselves to death. Alcohol really is a toxic chemical, and some folks develop a physical need for their poison. Like nicotine. Not starting is the esiest way. When I see pretty young women smoking, I want to tell them, "You're ruining your complexion with that stuff. Smoking ages you prematurely."

Barbara said...

I quit smoking 20 years ago for 6 years and then 3 years ago for good. I know this because I'm no longer tempted to start up. It's an insidious addiction so hard to overcome.

Hooray for socks. Hooray for mismatched socks. I've stopped even starting sock #2 because I seem to be incapable to complete them in sequence. Lucky I enjoy wearing socks that don't match--at all.

I love Bill Bryson. Thanks for the review. I'll use my next B&N coupon on it. I might want a Kindle.

ChiaLynn said...

I have a friend who quit smoking after a week on a morphine drip - his appendix very nearly burst.

I quit myself when I realized that I didn't enjoy smoking, and had never enjoyed smoking. "Then why do you smoke?" I asked myself. "I don't really know," I answered. "It's just something I do." The best mental hack I have for quitting is to try thinking of yourself as a non-smoker. Not an ex-smoker - a non-smoker. As though you'd never started.

I have not yet progressed to socks, though I've graduated from scarves to hats, and have several balls of sock yarn beckoning to me from their plastic bins.

Corlis said...

Be well.

Donna Lee said...

My daughter had her chest cracked open last year and it's "weird" according to her, feeling your sternum moving a little before it starts to reknit. Let your brother stay in the coma as long as they want. So much less pain.

I've had several people here have good results with the medicine for quitting smoking, Chantix (no this is not a commercial!). It seemed to help them over the hump and make it easier.

Laughingrat said...

That sounds really frightening about your brother. :(

My SO was griping about the new Bryson book, saying it sounded self-indulgent. "But wait," I said, "haven't you ever wondered about the history of all that everyday stuff around you?" He conceded the point.

Linda said...

I'm sending healthy thoughts to your brother and peaceful thoughts to you. Hang in there. This is so much harder for the families than the patients.

Amy Lane said...

Your brother's best friend is an ABSOLUTE TREASURE--flash those pictures often! (And didn't Keith Richards have to have a couple of blood transfusions for the nicotine habit to really die?)

And yeah... ball bands lie-- but socks are good, anti-stress knitting. Next to the basic, 8-decrease stockingcap, there's nothing to really beat them!

~~~~~~ Sending good vibes to your brother, and good ~~~~vibes to you, and telling you that ESPECIALLY because you hate Shakespeare, the next book you should read is Fool, by Christopher Moore, because it's essentially a riff on King Lear, and it will make you laugh until you pee your pants.

Bells said...

Ex smoker here and glad of it. My dad quit after a heart attack and has never looked back. My sister, Alice's mum, I wish so much she would quit. She can't afford it, quite apart from the health stuff and the parenting stuff. IS it as expensive there as it is here? I tell her she may as well roll a $20 and smoke that for all the good she's doing.

Bill Bryson is great! I've only read a couple but loved them. Should read more.

The sock thing is great- I don't get how you haven't got it before now. The endless variety of what can be done pattern wise! Do a patterned pair soon? Please? I want to see how much you love it.

Walden said...

Prayers and good thoughts to your brother.

I tried smoked once when I was about 11, my gag reflex went crazy and it made me throw up all my lunch. My cousin, who was older said not to worry, I would get use to it and I would stop throwing up. I looked at her like she was crazy and never smoked again. Why would I want to get use to it!?!?!?

I agree with you on the socks, I don't mind mismatched socks, but it's ridiculous when they lie to you.

Liz said...

Just finished "At Home" too - the audiobook which Bryson reads very well. I'm only about 40 miles down the road, so it also had local interest.

Best wishes to you and all the family; and keep knitting the sanity-saving socks.

Julia G said...

My favorite Bill Bryson books are his travel books, "In a Sunburned Country" (Australia) and "Notes from a Small Island" (England) and of course "A Walk in the Woods" -- his humor ranges from wry to scathing but he is somehow always upbeat.

And I've always got a couple of socks going, in tandem, so I don't get stuck on the fiddly bits like turning heels and always have some mindless knitting handy. They are the perfect hospital knitting, since you can sit in the corner like Mme. Defarge and keep an eye on all the medical people.

Someone has to, because nowadays you have everyone coming and going and treating their piece of the elephant, but not the overall picture. A few years ago I was doing exactly that when my dad was hospitalized -- I coaxed a urologist into ordering a chest x-ray that was skipped in the ER before they released him, and it turned out he had pneumonia. Best wishes for your brother!