There are many reasons why I check Wendee Holtcamp's blog and other publications on a regular basis. Here is another.



This has been a hellacious week for my family, and so I haven't had much energy for posting much of anything the last few days. My father-in-law's medical misadventures have multiplied. He's been in four different situations in the space of a week, variously:

  • blood sugar ran amuck on Friday, requiring trip to hospital to balance meds

  • early Saturday morning, attempted to urinate, missed the toilet, slipped on his own fluids, cracked his head, gave himself a mild concussion and (since he's on Coumadin) lost considerable blood---taken to Kaiser

  • spent the next two days getting his wits back in the hospital. Too weak after the ordeal to do much of anything without assistance. Independent living days appear to be pretty much over. Placed temporarily in a retirement facility to receive physical therapy in hopes of bringing back some of his strength

  • was removed from the facility less than two days later by his children, who felt guilty about the perception that the old man was being abandoned and who were even more distraught to learn the opinion of his physician, that he had, at outside, perhaps six months to live. Now at home with my sister-in-law, and appears to be happier and perhaps breathing a bit better, yet still incapable of doing much of anything on his own
The decision was made earlier to emphasize 'quality of life' in the face of a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer. So far, there's been no 'quality' that I can see, only fear, guilt, pain and anxiety. That we've had no new medical emergency now for 72 hours isn't a sign that things are getting better. It's just a lull in the drumbeat of decline, and it's becoming frustratingly obvious that my poor family as a whole is not facing up to the reality of the situation, making things worse for themselves: as far as I know, they are still considering reinstalling him in his 5-acre property out in the country and having his granddaughter move out there with him.

I'd raise more of a fuss about this, but for two things: first, he's not my father; second, who is to say what 'quality of life' is at this point? Maybe, for my family, 'quality' means whatever feels good at the moment. Who knows? They may be right. Me? I'm praying for a less anxious, more peaceful outcome.



Speaking of family, my wife's nephew is on a hot streak.


My brother waxes nostalgic about his early comics fandom, which led to an appreciation for the economic and social influence of the comic shops on the content and form of comics, and much of his subsequent career as a leading comics scholar.

What can I say? I loved this essay!


Can't say. I'll know tomorrow when I hit the scale.

Anyway, this is sort of a mundane topic that almost everyone deals with, but I just wanted to mention that my new lifestyle program is bearing some results. My weight goal for the end of March was to get down to 220 pounds (or 100 kilos, as we scientist types like to say). As I speak, after a day's worth of punishment, I'm hovering between 221-222. We'll see if I reach my goal tomorrow. I began this effort somewhere above 240 nearly seven weeks ago. I easily met my goal for February (230 pounds), but the second 10 pounds were quite a bit harder, as expected. My next weight goal is to reach 210 by the end of May, but I'm sure in order to do that I'm going to have to increase my very limited exercise routine.

Overall, though, I'm happy. I've increased my fiber, the number of vegetables and fruits per week, and pretty much eliminated a lot of the fast food and junk food (I'm a sodas and cookies kind of guy), and I am feeling and looking better. But it's an interesting fact that this is the first time I've been on a kick like this where I wasn't motivated by vanity or a desire to play sports. Really, I've just reached the point where I know I need to make permanent changes to my lifestyle to reduce the risks to my health.