Chatter #60: March 1, 2002

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM


It's been a while, but I still don't have my new computer. Or rather, I've had it twice now and each time it crashed, crashed, crashed. And since the network card was pulled from my old PC to put in the new one, that means that we haven't had access to the net in weeks. Well, I've been able to check my email from work, but Teri hasn't had access at all. She really misses it.

I'm hoping the system will be ready and working tonight, but I'm not at all confident any more. More on that later, but first, some more exciting stuff:

Real-World Poison & Head Trauma

Last Sunday morning (February 24th) Teri and I went to Coffee & Cream in North Smithfield Rhode Island, a nice breakfast place. I ordered coffee, a Belgian waffle with powdered sugar and butter, home fries, and corned beef hash. The waffle was cold (which has been happening more and more often there lately; they seem to be going downhill), but not too bad. The hash, however, was odd. The first three or four bites seemed fine, but on the next forkful I stopped and said "This hash is bad!", and stopped eating. Unfortunately it was too late, although I didn't wasn't to know how late for some time...

Our plan was to spend the day with Jon, a friend of ours. He'd just bought a condo in Cambridge (lucky guy!), and needed furniture. Teri had been shopping around, trying to find things he'd like, and that day we were going to drive him up to Lowell to take a look at a cheap furniture place.

One thing after another delayed us, and by the time we got on the road it looked like we wouldn't get to Cambridge until 3PM. So we did a quick lunch stop. But since the only quick place on the way was a Wendy's and I'm still not eating fast food, I skipped lunch. Incidentally, we had Sebastian with us in the back seat.

We made it up to Cambridge, picked up Jon, and headed north. As the day progressed, I started getting a really unpleasant feeling that was disturbing and familiar; a feeling as if someone were inflating a basketball placed in my abdomen directly under my ribcage. I've had that sensation several times before in my life, and it can be really awful; the pressure just builds and builds, and there's nothing to do about it. The end result was usually severe nausea, which I really hate. In the past I'd tried anti-gas drugs and Pepto-Bismol, but they didn't seem to help much—even though Pepto usually helps me a lot with nausea.

The cheap store didn't have much that Jon liked, so we drove to Jordan's Furniture in Waltham—Teri driving, Jon riding shotgun, and me in the back trying to entertain Sebastian, who was fussing. By the time we got to Jordan's it was almost 6PM, and it turned out that they closed at six; so we did a quick tour of the store, which was an odd place (most Jordan's are huge, I mean HUGE!!!, but this was a small old store with many floors and an ancient elevator). We got back on the road and headed towards Cambridge to take Jon home. But Sebastian was crying; it was his dinner time, and so we decided to go to my parents' place in Brookline and feed him there first, since Jon didn't mind. As we drove on and pressure got worse and worse; I felt as if I'd explode. Waves of nausea started to surge through me. And then something odd happened: Sebastian stopped crying and started staring at me, his eyes huge and worried. I really believe that he somehow knew that I was sick!

By 6:30 we pulled up in front of my parents' place on Beacon Street. The pain and nausea were unbearable; I knew I had to get to a bathroom immediately, and told Teri that I couldn't help get Sebastian's things out of the car. We were about a block down from their place, so I walked as quickly towards it as I could. But after about twenty feet I knew I was too late. A huge spasm of gut-wrenching nausea took me over, and I jackknifed over and lurched towards a large tree next to the road, gagging. But I'd eating nothing since 9AM; nothing came up. As soon as the first spasm ended the second one started.

* * *

I felt dreamy and comfortable. Some odd little dream-fantasy was chasing itself around in my head. It felt so good to be slowly waking up, no alarm clock to bother me, nothing but the cars making a sound...why was I outside?

Was I dreaming?

Why were there cars roaring by near my head?

Why was I fully dressed?

Why was I lying in the dirt?

Why was my face on the curbstone?

It hit me: I'd passed out. That had never happened before! I also realized that I was in intense pain, mostly on the left side of my face which was pillowed on the rough granite curbstone. My left cheekbone and temple were numb, and my nervous system was starting to wake up to the fact that I had been pretty badly hurt. It came to me that I'd fainted and fallen face-first onto the curb.

I took stock. I was obviously not paralyzed, and while I was in a lot of pain all over nothing was screaming out at didn't seem likely that I had jagged bone sticking out anywhere, except possibly on my cheek. As I picked up my head I saw Teri and Jon not six feet from my feet, carrying Sebastian. But it was dark, and I was wearing earth colors, and I was in the shadow of a big tree. I couldn't speak. They didn't see me, and walked on past.

Perhaps half a minute later a blonde woman came by. She looked at me with a little fear and asked if I was all right. "No problem, thank you!" I replied, surprised at how strong and confident my voice sounded, "Just a little nausea." I rolled over, sat up, and slowly got to my feet. It was immediately obvious that my right hand was badly gashed-up; there was a lot of blood on the little and ring fingers. More serious was the huge bump already growing on my left cheekbone and the gash in my temple. But I was able to walk without staggering much, and set off towards my parents'.

In the meantime, Teri and Jon had arrived, asked where I was, and realized that something was wrong. Teri was heading out to look for me just as I rang the doorbell. I must have looked pretty scary, covered with dirt and blood, my glasses askew, clothes messed up...

Over the next hour or so I had various unpleasant experiences, followed by momentary relief, slowly growing discomfort, yuck, repeat. During a lull we took me to the emergency room at Saint Elizabeth's.

They took me in surprisingly quickly, and were quite nice. The triage nurse apparently took one look at my rather large stomach, listened to my symptoms, and suspected a heart attack. They had me in one of those reverse-bathrobes, on my back, and hooked up to an EKG in no time. It showed what it always shows—that as far as my heart goes, I seem to have won the genetic lottery. Steady as a rock. But I was badly dehydrated, so they started an IV and ran three liters of saline into me along with an anti-nausea drug.

Six unpleasant hours passed. The doctor apparently examined my face and hand, and decided that nothing was broken; they didn't bother with x-rays. They told me that they were going to give me a tetanus shot (there was dirt and bark in my cuts), but I don't remember them giving me one. On the other hand, I just looked at my left arm and there is a red spot there, so who knows?

Anyway, the doctor confirmed Jon's and my guess: food poisoning, a pretty bad case.

Incidentally during that time my mother took care of Sebastian, and my father drove Jon home.

They wheeled me out into the hallway at around 11PM, where I huddled on the stretcher. I was miserable. Apart from hurting all over, my back was now particularly bad from lying there for so long and the nausea was getting stronger, if anything. They told Teri we could leave when I felt up to it, but I insisted on lying down until nearly midnight. It's a good thing I did, because when I finally took my clothes into the bathroom and started changing I was suddenly, massively sick. Apparently fluid from the IV must have somehow leeched into my stomach—who knew that could happen? The woman who was waiting to use the place after me was not pleased, although I apologized repeatedly. Fortunately I hadn't made a mess, since I'd retained some control.

Teri drove us home; we got there just before 2AM, and collapsed.

Monday I was pretty much a zombie. I had a couple of pieces of dry wheat toast and some tea in the evening, but that was it. Tuesday I started feeling better by mid-day, and had some chicken soup as well. Wednesday I felt well enough to drive myself to work, but started feeling terrible aches and pains after a while, particularly in my head, left arm and chest. Breathing deeply made me cough. On Thursday a huge bruise came out on my left hand, which was odd. The aches and pains continued, but grew less. As of today (Friday), the gouges and bruises on my face have healed with amazing hand less quickly, but I can use it without much pain.

And that's the story.

Sebastian & The Emergency Room

The Monday before last (February 18th) Teri called me to tell me that Sebastian had projectile vomited twice. I got home in time to see him vomit a third time—it even came out his nose, the poor boy! But although he cried, less than a couple of minutes later he was smiling and laughing. Still, we were terribly worried—vomiting is very serious in an infant—so we called his doctor.

The doctor on call called us back and told us to take him to the emergency room at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI (the nearest pediatric hospital to our house). We rushed him down there. They looked him over, checked his heart and temperature, and then had us settle down for a long, long wait—they were very busy.

The cafeteria was closed, so we grabbed dinner in an Au Bon Pain in the hospital complex. Eventually we were brought to a very nice doctor, who was surprised when we were both able to tell her everything that Sebastian had eaten in the past 24 hours, as well as his full medical history—apparently we're unusually conscientious and competent parents, which was nice to hear! Sebastian was over 18 pounds, which was excellent—he's really flourishing. Anyway, she told us that it was probably a stomach bug—a virus has been going around. We gave him some pedialyte, got parked in a "TV room" for a couple of hours while they got us some of his brand of formula to feed him, and ended up getting home very late. I went in to work late the next day, but ten minutes away from work Teri called; the baby had vomited again. She called the doctor and found out that after a baby vomits you need to keep him on pedialyte only.

Pedialyte doesn't have much nutritive value; it's not very filling, being not much more than Baby Gatorade. Sebastian woke up the next morning ravenous. I was holding him at the time, and he opened his eyes, saw me, let out a fierce little baby war-cry, and tried to eat my nose. He bit me so fiercely with his little gums that it actually hurt, although Teri and I were laughing too hard to do anything about it! After a minute he released my nose, only to screech and bite my nose again, and again, and again. Teri even managed to catch some of it on videotape.

We got some more Pedialyte into him, when Teri told me that he'd given me a huge hickey on my nose. It lasted for a couple of days.

He's recovered now, and is doing quite well. He's teething rather badly right now (I'm being more careful about my nose), and is a little cranky, but baby Tylenol and some teething toys help. The night before last he was fussy and crying; I started to sing to him, and as soon as I started he smiled, closed his eyes, and was asleep within a minute. It's funny, but he definitely seems to like my singing (after all, he doesn't know any better ). I sing old lullabies from a tape called Golden Slumbers, by the way, which was a record that my parents played to me when I was a baby, as well as some old folksongs by Joan Baez.

Oh, the latest news: yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, Sebastian turned himself over for the first time! Ended up on his tummy, which he doesn't like. I suppose he'll have to learn how to turn himself back over next. But seriously, we know we're going to have to watch him very carefully. Teri and I both fell and gouged our faces when we were little, so he has the genes to surprise us and get into trouble.

Computer Crash-O-Rama

What can I say? I had a huge thing to write about how I picked it up two weeks ago and it crashed a million times, so I brought it back, and it crashed like crazy again, and I took it back, etc. etc. etc., but I'm all written out. I went to pick up the system again last night, but insisted on installing Diablo II as a test; that's what crashed the system every time previously. As it did again, sending it into a spate of "Error—Cannot Write to Drive C" blue screens. Not good. On reboot it started a scandisk, which it turned out was going to be an all-night affair—so once again I have no system. The guy is working on it, but as it stands he thinks the problem is the ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder card. Switching to a G-Force card and a separate TV card is possible, but won't happen until Monday. I'm going to probably pick it up and take it home in the meantime, crashes and all, because it's been TOO DAMN LONG since we've had access at home!

And it's been too damn long since I've added new game material to the site. It's on my mind, and will be coming forthwith. Along with other stuff, if I ever get the chance...I picked up three great new genre DVDs, and probably have something to say about them...when I can just get a little time!

Previous Chatter

Chatter Index Next Chatter

Main Page

Roleplaying Adventures & HeroQuests

Generic & RQ Alternate & Add-On Rules
Alternate Rules

The Chaos Project: Magic Items, Found Items, & Chaos Features. Add yours!
Chaos Project

RQ3, RQ2, & CoC Character Sheets, a RQ Help Sheet, more
Character Sheets

NPC People, places, & Things
NPCs & More

Rune Art & the RQ Font

Random Thoughts From A Random Brain

Issues of my old zine, resurrected from paper
Rack & Rune

Battle Evil Online! Or get munched
Peasant's Progress

Game & Other Recommended Links

So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2002 by Peter Maranci. Revised: March 27, 2002. version 1.0