Monday, February 25, 2008

Ella's Latest Video

You know how, in my last post, I talked about Ella and her new bile paintings? You probably thought that I was joking, right?


Here's her latest video, which documents her bile postcard project:

Weird kid. She keeps trying to blame me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ella: The Saga Continues

It's interesting: Isaac Asimov is credited with the saying "The only constant is change," but the sentiment, in a variety of words, goes back to at least Plato.

I wonder if perhaps the only constant is plagiarism.

At any rate, changes have been coming fast and free in 2008. In Ella news, the January operation didn't really do much. She came out of her endoscopy in perfect, if totally unchanged, health. This, by the way, is a fluoroscope of her liver:

The "string of pearls" is, essentially, the bile ducts in the left side of her liver. Scar tissue and repeated expansion have transformed them from a straight line into a twisted maze. That, however, is not the problem. The problem is that her bile is not draining into her small intestine, as it should be.

Consequently, Ella's going in for a "Kasai Revision" in late March. Essentially, this means that the doctors will detach her liver from her small intestine, cut away scar tissue until they find a viable bile duct, and reattach her liver to her small intestine. The operation should take four or five hours, and she will be out of commission for a month or so. I'm going to live with her for a week, and her high school friend Janie will be staying with her for a few weeks afterward.

Ella has prepared for this extremely well. She has lined up people to help her, is getting internet for the time when she will be out, has dealt with Medicaid and gotten them to foot the bill, and has organized communication between her original doctors, her current doctors, and various other health-care professionals throughout the country. In the meantime, she's found the energy to teach her classes, make art from her bile, and get a brand new haircut. The kid amazes me.

In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of freelance work and temp jobs, as they've been leaving me free to bolt off to Pennsylvania at a moment's notice. The wife, meanwhile, has gotten a new job, which she loves even more than her old job. The daughter is now in a new daycare that is right down the street from our house, which gives us about two more hours of personal/family time per day. In other words, things are, as usual, mixed.

Unfortunately, all this impending reality has left me very little time for my blog responsibilities; frankly, I have been amazingly neglectful with my posts, not to mention my failure to comment on your blogs. I will try to rectify as soon as possible!

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Mini Rant

Here are a few signs that your Optometrist is a scheming sack of shit:

1. When you check in for your appointment, they ask you about insurance before they ask your name.

2. They double check to see if you're insured before they dilate your eyes.

3. They hesitate to mention any conditions you might have until after they' guessed it, checked that you're insured.

4. They try to hard sell you on the more expensive contact lenses.

5. Your insurance covers up to $115 worth of contact lenses. They won't allow you to take advantage of it unless you buy a whole year's supply, which costs more than three times as much. They blame this on the insurance company, although it's never been an issue before.

6. They charge $45 a box for Acuvue Oasys lenses (Wal-Mart charges $29) and $35 a box for Acuvue II lenses (Wal-Mart charges $16). Yes, I know that Wal-Mart buys in bulk, opresses the working man, yadda, yadda, yadda. They still are asking about half of what these guys want for the exact same fucking lenses.

7. They refuse to release your prescription unless you buy at least one box of their overpriced lenses.

I like supporting independent stores. Given a choice, I will always choose a mom and pop restaurant, grocery store, or garage. Still, enough is enough. Screw Bronx Eye Care Optometry; next time, I'm going to Pearle Vision.