June 2nd, 2008


[links] Link salad Monday crouton

SCIFI.COM with an enthusiastic Paul Di Filippo review of Escapement Amazon ] — I think he liked it.

A reader reacts to Mainspring Powell's | Amazon thb | Audible ] — I think he liked it.

Drivers putting less gas in tank, then running out — Ummm...isn't it all the same money at the end of the week? (And yes, I realize many people do live paycheck to paycheck — I've been one of those a number of times in my life.)

Woman found after 42 years — In the same apartment she'd been living in when she died in 1966. (Thanks to danjite.)

And happy hurricane season!

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night's weigh-out: 0
This morning's weigh-in: 258.8
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]


[cancer] Kicking the habit

I stopped taking opiates a little over 24 hours ago. We'd already cut the dosage down to a very minimal amount, and I really wanted my brain back in my head. Plus the allure of once again operating heavy machinery, of course.

As a result, I spent all of yesterday with no appetite, irritable, and out of sorts. A number of small aches and pains made themselves known, including an odd sensation in my lower left abdomen which lasirenadolce pointed out is probably the internal suture site between my abbreviated colon and the tissue at the top of my rectum. Of course, I also spent the day working on my Web site and getting my bibliography up to date, which may explain some of these symptoms.

Last night wasn't much better. I had the sweats, along with heroic gas pains, poor sleep, and a weird dream that I was pushing my ancestral piano to South Dakota along the shoulders of the Interstate highway system.

I am rather more in sorts today. I'm still taking Gabapentin and Ibuprofen, so I am not without pain control resources, but neither of those mess with my head. Unless I am derailed by renewed pain, digestive urgency or pathological napping this afternoon, I should start in on revisions to Green today.

[writing] Back on the hors de literature

Whee! I'm writing again! Worked on Green for several hours, tracking comments from casacorona. Some very good feedback, though it looks like I'll have to kill my favorite scene in the whole book. It's part of a sequence which I may pull out and market separately as a piece of short fiction. As loving parents, like wretched old Tantalus we writers must slay our darlings.

Another good sign is the fact that books are bubbling in my head. As some of you may recall, I have talked in the past about book soup and novel bubbles. They're rumbling in my writer's mind now. Too many of them, in fact, which is a better problem to have than not enough, I suppose.

To be specific:
  • Black Tulip — Historical fantasy/thriller set in 17th century Netherlands

  • [Green 2] — Sequel to Green, as of yet untitled

  • Original Destiny, Manifest Sin — A very alternate history of the settling of the American West

  • Reign of Flowers — A sequel to Trial of Flowers and Madness of Flowers

  • Tock, Gallant — Far future SF where the enslaved remnants of the human race are mentored by an immortal, animatronic Captain Hook, who is faced with the rebirth of Pan

  • Tourbillion — The third, unifying book in the arc of Mainspring and Escapement

  • A Tourist in the Land of the Slow (with lasirenadolce) — Narrative nonfiction about the history and current understanding of cancer, built around my experiences with the disease

And for some reason in the last few days I've been seized with a desire to plot out a multiple volume far future political space opera. Ghu knows what Fred is thinking. Oh well, I've got years ahead of me. I believe that when I'm done revising Green, I'll spend some time writing outlines, see if I can't get it out of my system.

I'm back, and damn I'm happy about it. Can you tell I've kicked the opiates?

[cancer|politics] Insurance

According to my health insurance carrier, the total costs of my excellent cancer adventure will come to somewhee between $75,000 and $80,000, including the ER admit, subsequent hospitalization, the surgery and the post-op hospitalization, along with all the doctor's fees, testing costs and so forth. This doesn't include the several dozen appointments and eight or so colonoscopies I'll have for follow up over the next five years.

Also according to my health insurance carrier, my out of pocket will be in the neighborhood of $1,400.

Now, $1,400 is a lot of money. And health insurance is quite expensive, even with an employer subsidy. But the alternatives — either owing $75,000 right now, or living (not much longer) with cancer — are far more expensive.

That our American system of healthcare financing is so patchwork, so crazy quilt, is one of the great shames of our society. Decades of cynical obfuscation from the GOP and the AMA about the horrors of "socialized medicine" have frightened millions of voters into blindly believing our system is the best (and only) answer.

I am one of the lucky ones, but I'm willing to bet a meaningful percentage of you guys reading here are not so lucky. Certainly tens of millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans are not so lucky.

If you think socialized medicine means healthcare rationing and reduction in standards of care and outcomes, let me ask you two simple questions. Do you know the difference between "single payer" and "single provider"? Are you aware that HMOs are based on healthcare rationing? If you don't understand both those questions clearly, then your understanding of healthcare financing is significantly underinformed.

Remember, in the United States where the vast majority of health coverage is financed through employer-sponsored group health insurance, you're only as lucky as your next layoff.