Coffee heat rising

Adventures in Medical Science: Allergy Edition

So, ohhhhh goodie, here I am at the Mayo Clinic (again!!! an hour’s drive through rush-hour traffic!) to be tested for allergic reaction to one of the several OTC meds that elicit tingling lips and swelling tongue.

They just gave me a tiny, tiny dose of ibuprofen and my lips are already tingling. Damn it! The wounded paw and the elbow and shoulder spavined in a fall a month ago still hurt. Though all that is slowly getting better, I still surely would appreciate being able to use some aspirin, or some ibuprofen, or some acetaminophen.

Apparently ibuprofen ain’t gonna make it, though. The microscopic dose they just gave me is already eliciting tingling lips and tongue. Of course, that could just be stress…I hate, hate, hate being in hospitals and doctors’ offices. My blood pressure goes right through the roof every time I have to come into one of these places.

Hmmm…. Interestingly, even that tiny bit of the stuff they gave me seems to be masking some of the pain, though. If I knew for sure this was not going to cause an eventual anaphylactic reaction, the trade-off would be worth it. But…if a ridiculously low dose like this one makes itself known, what would a full OTC pill do?

Nothing good, I’ll bet.

Finished the client’s latest math project and sent that off to him. He says page proofs for the book will arrive from the publisher in a couple of weeks (so he’s told). This is good. Very good.

I really, really would like to have a bunch more of these kinds of writers. PayPal having shut down my business with the mainland was NOT a good thing. I reckon if he’s happy with the results of the paper I just sent back to him, I’ll ask if he can refer me to other Chinese mathematicians and scientists around the US. He must know some, because academics have to go to conferences and they meet each other there, if they haven’t run into each other in various university and corporate settings.

Hm. In fact. Maybe the thing to do would be to see if I could get myself invited to one of those conferences. Yea verily, maybe the Kid and I could make a presentation on editing your own golden words…the implication being “Why an ESL Author Needs an Editor.”  😉

Another thing I could do, mebbe, is offer to proofread the page proofs for him. If I threw that in as a freebie, I’d have this one on the string for the rest of eternity…and he’d probably tell his friends.

But if I’m going to do very much more of this kinda work, I really, truly DO need to learn LaTex. This is the freebie software that mathematicians use because it handles equations handsomely and it sets type. Sorta…at least, it sets type well enough for a scholarly journal, or to produce a PDF to publish online.

When we first started copyediting for Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, the Kid and I took a LaTex short-course at the Great Desert University. Unfortunately, it was taught by a woman who had to major pedagogical shortcomings:

  • She couldn’t speak English — not intelligibly, at least.
  • And she assumed everyone in the room was fluently techie…an incorrect assumption.

Upshot was that neither one of us absorbed a thing. Even when you go to what LaTex’s users consider to be a beginner’s guide, it’s well nigh incomprehensible. And as you study this guide, you quickly realize the program is extraordinarily cumbersome. Its strongest recommendation is that it sets mathematical expressions in type.  If I were an art director for a journal or a publisher of scientific books, any day I’d rather use it solely to create jpegs of equations and formulae, and then paste those into InDesign.


Welp…been here two hours. They just gave me the final “large” dose — which is just a standard OTC ibuprofen tablet. Other than a slight headache and lip tingling and the tongue tingling, nothing has happened. With any luck, maybe this “allergy” is all in my beady little brain.

The stuff sure has helped with the hand and arm pain. But the tingling stuff gives me the whim-whams, big time. Some things may be worse than a sore hand and a spavined elbow. Like…f’r example…anaphylaxis.


Rain, Cold, and…A Cold???

El Niño has arrived, bringing with it a large, wet weather system: inches of rain in the desert and feet of snow in the high country. This is good, since the region has been enjoying a decades-long drought. A whole LOT of rain is in order.

SDXB had planned to drive into town from lovely Sun City but changed his mind upon peering out the window into the gloom. His decision was clinched when I remarked that I may have a cold. But am not sure. I’ve thought it was the usual allergies — pollen-laden plants are starting to grow, what with the rain we’ve already had this winter. That was why I was camped out at the Albertson’s yesterday, trying to extract a dozen Sudafed pills from the pharmacists. I’d already discovered that a Claritin just about disappeared the runny nose and the scratchy throat, indicating the issue was more allergic than viral. Today we’ll find out how true that is, since I just dropped half of a Sudafed. Much more than that and I’ll be awake for the rest of the year…but if the issue is actually an allergy, a small amount of pseudoephedrine will send it packing.

It is unusually cold here. Enough so that, for the first time in many years, windshields on cars left outside overnight are icing up.

A-n-n-n-d lest you think I exaggerate about Arizona’s legions of driving morons….

No kidding. One of them hopped in his car and charged off down the road, surprised and confused because he couldn’t see through his iced-up windshield. NOT surprisingly, he ran into a traffic-control box and put out all the stoplights for a mile or two around him.

It is impossible to exaggerate the number of morons who infest Arizona’s fine roads. 😀

So at any rate, with SDXB out of my hair today, the next 12 or 15 hours are cleared for work. We’re almost done with the Latina feminist journal — everything is finished except for one long article I farmed out to our new intern, who promises to turn the thing around soon. It’s a long and complicated thing, but I’ve already given it a read. I’ll merge her edits with mine, which will allow me to spot any changes she’s made that are different from mine, collate them, and come up with clean copy. Then it’s off to the editors with that magnum opus!

Two new works of Chinese science came in, both by urban infrastructure engineers. The articles are strangely interesting — the one in hand has to do with the dynamics of plumbing water all the way to the top of a tall high-rise, problem-free. Both are written in fairly dense Chinglish. To the natural difficulty of the subject matter, this feature adds the authors’ wrestling match with the weirdness of an alien language. And make no mistake about it: English is a weird language!

One of the Latina scholars has written an extraordinary story whose quality and interest are so high that, IMHO, she should be proposing a version (of the literary nonfiction variety) to The New Yorker. Most academics are not, when you come right down to it, very good writers. But this lady? She can write her way out of a paper bag. I intend to suggest to our editor that she encourage the woman to send a proposal to that august magazine and also to The Atlantic. Editors at either one, I suspect, would fall all over themselves to get a version of this story written in the mode of John McPhee. Which, we might add, this writer is fully capable of producing.

Ruby is lobbying for food. A clap of thunder rolled through. We must have food to soothe our doggy nerves. Water is falling out of the sky. We must mark that with food. We got wet running outside in the rain. We must dry off with food. The Human says we are a good and a cute and a wonderful dog. Clearly that must be celebrated with food.

Hm. Here’s some spam from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. This particular amusing website was the only market that sold the Racy Books we put out through the now defunct Camptown Races Press. It far outpaced Amazon. Occasionally, it even broke even. You have to pay to get your books up there. You’re certainly not likely to make a profit (unless you know a lot of somethings I don’t know). But if an ego trip is what you’re after (which, far as I can tell, is what most self-publishing authors ultimately come away with), there it is.

Speaking of authors…{sigh}…I suppose I’m going to be reduced to actually working, by way of making a few of them publishable.