mm268: Sometimes it’s personal

MUDGE’S Musings

Yr (justifiably) humble svt has been practicing this hobby? trade? avocation? for nearly nine months. Early on, I was exposed to the Prime Directive of Blogging: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

Okay, started (seriously) 07-May-2007… tonight it’s 28-January-2008… (as discussed previously) … 266 days … this is mm268 (and there have been some WCW’s and decimals) and tells me that I’ve produced 293 posts up to now: I have met the Prime Directive of Blogging. 293 posts in 266 days. Whew!

With some difficulty. Take this week, for example. And by week, I’m referring to the past seven days, actually just the past six will do.


… was typical, up until late afternoon, as I was wrapping up ready to head home. Cell phone rings. It’s my mother, who I was due to call (as I do every Monday and Wednesday on the way home from work): don’t call me, I took a blood test today, and my doctor’s office called and I’m to go to the emergency room at once to have them retake the test.

As I headed south through the light but persistent snowfall, I quickly realized that the commute home (or directly to the hospital) would take twice as long as usual, and I had a commitment to lead a class for an individual in Tokyo beginning at 7pm. As I explained my conundrum to Mrs. MUDGE, long suffering and angelic, she instantly volunteered to head to the emergency room to assist my mother. Bless you, Mrs. M.

The class, conducted from the home office via web conference, went as well as one might expect, considering English was the student’s second or third language, and the instructor was rather distracted.

Turns out that my mother’s earlier blood test was correct; she was desperately anemic and needed two units of blood immediately. She was admitted, as the process takes several hours per unit, and the medical staff wanted to run some further tests to attempt to ascertain the cause(s).

I should say here that my mother is a clear thinking, quite young 80 years old, and save for difficulty walking due to a calamitous fall some years ago, is generally healthy.

And thanks again to my wife, for patiently staying with her mother-in-law until she was settled into her room. A saint.


… had actually planned to work from home, and this became more important as I wanted to be able to get to the hospital quickly if necessary, and to visit in any event.

And the visit is what happened, as she continued to undergo tests as well as receiving other intravenous nutrition. So I wrapped up early, picked my wife up after work from her job in town, and we went to visit.

This may be the point to interject an even more personal note. Since the summer, when I somehow subtly injured my ankle, I have been limping along.

Currently I am for the second time wearing a “cam boot” contraption that is awkward, and now, during a Chicago winter, downright obnoxious, but that allows me to walk mostly without irritating the partially torn tendon.

But it’s slow going, especially while making our way through the mammoth teaching hospital we are pleased to have so close by.

Quite a nice family reunion. Mother was in good spirits, resigned to another night (and another unit of blood) as well as some further testing Friday morning. My brother was there when we arrived – splits his time between Chicago and Florida, and travels constantly around the country, so we see him seldom, and it was good catching up. Later, MUDGElet No. 2, our older son, joined us after work, concerned about his grandmother.

On our way home, we dropped my mother’s car at her home (she had driven herself, anemia and all to the hospital the day before), and picked up some Steak ‘n Shake (comfort food, and fast).

So, not a bad day (easy for me to say; I wasn’t hospitalized!), but certainly not routine, and of course worrisome. What was going on that Mother’s red blood count was so low?


… another day where a sketchy plan to work from the home office became definite, as sure enough at around 10:30am I called my mother, who advised that she was going to be released any time after 12:00pm.

I arrived around noon, found her sitting in a chair, dressed, coat on, ready to go. No, I don’t need a wheelchair. Let’s go.

So we went, and we made quite a pair easing through the hallways all the way out to the garage: Mother with her omnipresent cane, never very fast; and yours truly squeaking along on that amazingly awkward, but miraculously pain-diminishing boot.

We stopped for a large sandwich and coffee, and I delivered her home.

Her main concern was answered: felt fine; blood count excellent; and her doctors had cleared her to go off on her scheduled trip to visit my California brother next week. See your doctor when you get back to discuss whatever test results there are.

All was well with the world.


… usual errands day; found time, as also usual, to blog. In fact, through the turbulence, hadn’t missed a day. Made a decision to change the blog’s theme once again; and we discussed the reasoning at the top of that day’s post. My wife talked to my mother; all was well. I fully expected to resume the Monday-Wednesday schedule.


… another routinely quiet weekend day: read the Sunday paper, did a weekly chore, was gathering myself to begin blogging when the phone rang.

My sister, who with her partner had just returned from a visit to my mother and wanted to report in.

She’s fine, alert, not anywhere near the stage in life (as I had proposed in an email to my siblings Thursday evening) to sell her beloved house where she rattles around alone and move into an assisted living facility.

Discussed some measures, though, like getting her a more modern cell phone that she could actually carry with her around the house, in case of misadventure. She has fallen twice in the past 20 years; the second time she was alone, and broken pelvis and all, had to drag herself some distance to reach the telephone.

Not more than 60 seconds after completing my conversation with my sister, my cellphone rang.

My mother.

I was on an errand (she drives a couple of times a day to a large store or mall to get some indoor walking in), and somebody rammed into my car. The police want to tow it. I’m upset. Can you please come get me?

Off to the northwest end of town, where I found the expected circus. First of all, I’d seen an ambulance heading, slowly, in the opposite direction I was driving, a good sign. And it turned out that, of the three vehicles, and four drivers or passengers, no person was even scratched. Let’s hear it for seat belts and airbags. Speaking of airbags; both of my mother’s had fired.

As she and the car in front of her had slowed for a stop light, the person behind them did not, and slammed into my mother’s car, who though she was braking, slammed into the car in front of her.

The person at fault had already seen his car towed; the car in front had a really damaged rear bumper, but its two occupants were okay, and quite solicitous toward my mother, as were the police officers, and, she related later, the paramedics, who pronounced her good to go.

Her car was towed, not from any visible damage (just bumper scrapes were obvious and the car seemed drivable) but because the airbags had deployed.

So, I took her home, and made on her behalf the first call to her insurance company (which of course was endless).

Now she’s calmed down, and as I prepare to depart, I ask to see her cell phone, which she extricates from her purse.

It’s suitably tiny, so a replacement wouldn’t be necessary. Mother, I’d like you to carry this with you in the house, not in your purse, but in your pocket.

No, that isn’t necessary.

Yes, it’s a good idea. What if you felt faint (like just before the hospital episode – how soon we forget!), and fell again?

No, I don’t need it. I’m not accident prone.

Not a good day to say that to me, I said with an ironic smile. See, it’s not just Gens X and Y that understand irony.


… which had all the earmarks of a blessedly routine workday, until I actually arrived at work, and found that I, along with many, many other of my co-workers, were without email.

A mainframe computer server had failed on Saturday, taking out about 1/3 of the enterprise’s email boxes with it.

Until one is forced to do without, and, thankfully, that doesn’t happen for any prolonged period of time, ever, one doesn’t realize how much of one’s work is tied up in electronic mail.

Had work to do, scheduling classes for March and April. Tough luck — no access to my calendar.

Had work to do, an expense report for a telephone headset I had ordered. Tough luck — no access to the vendor’s emailed receipt.

Had work to do, but no access to the documents I needed. And they (my departmental colleagues who handle the software side of mail administration) are telling me that we’ll be without email until midday Wednesday.


Then, because there was some down time, I took a quick look at Left-Handed Complement using my office PC’s browser, Internet Explorer v6.

I had some months ago discovered, thanks to my friends at, that the site can look different in IEv6 than in v7, or MUDGE’s preferred browser, Firefox.

One false move (or slightly too wide an element, such as an errant link, or an insufficiently resized photo) and all of the sidebar plummets to the bottom of the page. And my office PCs are my only access to IE6; long since installed IE7 at home.

Remember on Saturday, when I changed themes? IE6 didn’t like the new look nearly as much as I do.

So we’re back to Contempt, our original and longest used choice, and the easiest to change to on short notice from the office (where I never, never, ever blog!).

Monday, 10:15pmCST…

… and I’m wrapping up this post. Through the routine turned upside-down, the mayhem, the emotional roller-coaster, we blog.

Hobby? Trade? Avocation?

Nah, it’s an obsession.

It’s it for now. Thanks,


Note!: the links to Steak ‘n Shake and used above is for illustrative purposes only (did you really know what a cam boot was until we showed you one?) and represents no commercial relationship whatsoever. Left-Handed Complement should be so fortunate as to ever collect remuneration of any kind for this endeavor. I can link, so I link. It’s technology. It’s cool. It’s an artifact of Sequitur Service©. Deal with it.

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5 Responses to mm268: Sometimes it’s personal

  1. […] but two laptop computers (the better to have a backup); a tricky experience these days as I’m still stomping around in my “fracture walker” boot, attempting to heal a recalcitrant Achilles tendon that’s […]

  2. […] Perhaps yr (justifiably) humble svt is more sensitive to this topic, as surgery is possible/probable sometime within the next few months for that pesky partially torn, incompletely healed Achilles tendon which he has been favoring via the awkward, weather exposing “fracture walker” mentioned occasionally in this space. […]

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