Five Statements, Five Questions III

Continuing where this and this left off . . .

1. Marcia and I sadly had to attend her brother’s funeral last week after he passed away from complications associated with influenza. Do you get a flu shot every year?

2. While in Minneapolis for the funeral, we checked into our hotel and were assigned to a fully ADA accessible bedroom, from which we asked to be transferred, immediately. Was it wrong for the hotel to give us that room, rather than saving it for someone who actually might need it?

3. I consider Television Personalities’ song “Closer to God” to be among the most harrowing, soul-wrenching pieces of music I’ve ever heard. What do you listen to when you want your soul to be wrenched?

4. Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending was the best of the small number of fictional books that I read in 2012. What contemporary novels would you recommend to someone (like me) who doesn’t read much fiction?

5. I once lost 30 pounds in 30 days through fasting, weird eating and over-exercising. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in the name of good health?

11 thoughts on “Five Statements, Five Questions III

  1. 1) I’m so sorry to read this. No, I never get a flu shot, but this year, at the dinner party I hosted for my mother’s 80th birthday back in January, the talk was about a neighbor of my sister’s who had been rushed to the hospital due to the flu, and he died later that night. He was also 50-something so it hit home. I got a flu shot two days later. I will probably not get it every year, though, and Goat’s experience reinforces that. I am prone to developing reactions and cellulitis, in fact any time I have been seriously ill it has been caused by something like that.

    2) Crummy service and ridiculous mistakes at hotels seem to be more the exception than the rule. I guess this was OK since they honored your request to move, but the guy who wouldn’t move in the linked story is a jerk and the hotel’s response was unacceptable. Frankly, I’m shocked the Consumerist didn’t get better results (such as a refund, voucher for a free stay, and apology phone call from a VP). If I ever need work, maybe I will become a consumer advocate.

    3) I think I may have interpreted the question differently, because what came to mind were “Gravedigger” by Dave Matthews and “100 Years” by Five for Fighting. Then I listened to your link, and well, I have to say, I guess I never want my soul to be wretched…

    4) Oryx & Crake and the sequel, In the Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood.

    5) I take some supplements and utilize alternative approaches (such as a neti pot rather than taking antibiotics) for various conditions, and some folks think that is crazy, although I don’t. What has worked worst for me is taking zinc at first suspected symptom to try to avoid a cold. It makes me extremely nauseous, but that isn’t why it is crazy. It does tamp down the first day or two of a cold, but in my experience it also extends the duration — by a lot. Better to buck it up, endure the misery, and get it over with.

    • 2) When I did a search for handicapped accessible rooms at the hotel chain we stayed in, that was the first article that came up . . . so it was nice to see it was written by someone I knew from Albany!

      4) Katelin and Marcia both liked those, too . . . they’re on the list!

      5) Marcia uses neti pot, too . . . though she warns me since I have to leave the room (or even that part of the house) when she does it, since it freaks me out so much!!!

  2. 1. Very sad news — condolences to you both. I do, indeed, get one every year. Working in a healthcare environment, I feel it’s pretty important — I’m fortunate that I don’t have the reaction that many experience.

    2. That they were able to move you (apparently) so easily, I’m not sure why they put you in the room in the first place. I’m with you on this one.

    3. Hmmmm… I don’t know if I’d call it harrowing, but Bob Mould’s “Explode and Make Up” from his Sugar days is always a goose-pimple-inducing listen for me. The anguish in his voice, the spiraling guitar solo, and the ghostly coda — it is one of the most perfect power pop songs about a disintegrating relationship that I’ve ever heard.

    4. Most of my reading these days has been kid lit with my sons (“The Dumb Bunnies,” “Frog and Toad,” “Fred and Ted,” etc.). Not sure your feelings on the graphic novel genre, but “The Walking Dead” is a solid read that is good for limited time/attention spans (which is what I seem to have recently — see the aforementioned kids).

    5. Insisting on keeping up a workout regimen when I was injured, thus exacerbating the issue and landing me into several months of PT — which then kept me from working out. Stubborn and stupid.

    • 3) Marcia and I both really like “Again and Again” by Mould, from his “District Line” album, and it has the same poignant/heartbreak/despair flavor about it . . . I actually think that’s the best record he made since, oh, probably “Candy Apple Grey,” I guess. It’s the place where I think he balanced guitar rock, electronics and folk most effectively. Here’s the song, if you want to explore this one:

      4) Yay, “Dumb Bunnies”! That was one of my faves when the original came out, and I think we got one or two more of them before Katelin outgrew them . . . are there still new ones coming out??? I might have to get them for her for her birthday, if so! When she was in that era, the other things we really liked were the Mercer Meyer “Professor Wormbog” books, and his “One Monster After Another,” which had characters in it that we still use to describe people to this day. My father was the Typhoonigator, but I inherited that mantle when he passed. Katelin remains the Stamp-Collecting Trollusk . . . other faves were pretty much anything by J. Otto Seibold, whose graphic design and art still floors me.

      5) I did that once, too . . . had acute plantar fasciitis in both feet, but kept playing basketball, so that the next morning, I would have to crawl around the house because my feet hurt so much. Amazing how they got better when I cut out basketball for a little while . . .

      • 3. I will have to go and check that out (Television Personalities, as well). I didn’t pursue Mould’s later albums after “Modulate” (ugh), so it’s time to do some catch-up.

        4. No new ones, I am afraid — my sons are fans of his other series (“Dragon” and “Captain Underpants”) so the Dumb Bunnies made it into rotation, as well. Mr. Pilkey has a good ear for dialogue that makes kids (and adults!) laugh. They are great fun to read out loud, for sure!

  3. 1. Condolences. And no–every time I get a flu shot, the disease follows soon after (this year, it led directly to #5).

    2. The fact that they were able to move you may give me the extra information I need–my thoughts are that if the hotel was fully-booked and they were certain no one WOULD need the room, that would be acceptable. (And even if, they still could have moved you if not everyone had checked in yet.)

    3. Sarah McLachlan’s “Hold On.” Lacuna Coil’s “Unspoken.” The second movement for Gorecki’s second symphony, featuring Kiri te Kanawa’s best vocal performance ever. I really do have a thing for female vocalists.

    4. Five-star fiction on my spreadsheet, separated into adult and Juv/YA:
    Barry Hannah, The Tennis Handsome
    Catherynne Valente, The Labyrinth
    China Mieville, The City and the City
    Clive Barker, Sacrament
    Don DeLillo, The Names
    John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In
    Joyce Carol Oates, Cybele
    Karen Russell, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
    Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove (coming out Feb. 13)
    Kathe Koja, Kink
    Kathe Koja, Skin
    Kathe Koja, Strange Angels
    Margaret Laurence, The Diviners*
    Matthew Stokoe, Cows**
    Robin Hobb, Forest Mage***
    Stephen King, ‘Salem’s Lot
    Stephen King, The Stand
    Steven Erikson, Midnight Tides****
    Tom Piccirilli, A Choir of Ill Children
    Wendy Walker, The Secret Service

    Alden Bell, The Reapers Are the Angels
    Kathe Koja, Straydog
    Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
    Sam McBrainey, Guess How Much I Love You

    *The last book in a five-volume saga (they were called sagas back then, not series…)
    **Be very cautious treading in Matthew Stokoe territory. One of the most offensive books ever written.
    *** Second book in a trilogy
    **** Fifth book in a ten-volume series (the whole of which is excellent)

    5. Have so far lost forty-eight pounds as a direct result of cellulitis, almost-but-not-quite kidney failure, and resulting complications, that were brought on at least in part by this year’s flu shot resulting in the worst bout of flu I have ever had–the cellulitis surfaced on the fourth morning, and my temp was still 103.9 when I went to the ER. (As an odd side effect–my temp, which always ran two or three degrees higher than normal, now seems to have stabilized at 95-97.)

    • 1) I hate to say it, but I got sick the last time I got one too. Though I appreciate the fact that most people don’t!

      2) Yeah, I’d be in the same boat. But it just felt wrong being there . . . not to mention the fact that at my height, it’s actually more difficult for me to deal with hangers, furniture and bathroom fixtures that are lower than normal.

      4) Great list, thanks!! I’m probably one of the few people out there who also has all three of those early Kathe Koja books on my Top 100 list, too!!

      5) Are you out of hospital now??? I hope so!!!

      • Out of the hospital since Jan. 11, but homebound until (at least) Feb. 13–that’s my followup appointment where the doc decides if I can drive again. Completely stir-crazy–but I do know I’m going to greatly miss being able to watch 5-6 movies during the workday once I’m back in the office!

        • Hope you get the green light (oof, pun not intended, but rank) from the Docs on the 13th, and that health continues to recover apace! A scary happening . . . hope you get it all behind you soon!!

  4. 1) Really, really sorry about your brother-in-law. The answer to the question is yes: every single year without fail. I work in an ER and I owe it to myself, my family and my patients.

    2) If there weren’t any other rooms ready, then I guess it was OK. I would have asked to be moved, too.

    3) I’d have to pick Lou Reed’s “Heroin,” but I’m listening to “Closer to God” right now and by the time this song is over I may well have changed my mind.

    4) Drawing a complete blank. I could point you to some dandy articles in the EM literature, though…

    5) Trying to treat my asthma on my own instead of letting my doctor do it. Really dumb on my part.

    • 1) Marcia does too, also because she works in hospitals. I have not been so smart . . . though I have recently made a doctor’s appointment to get a physical for the first time in way, way too long . . .

      3) “Closer to God” gets even more riveting to me knowing the story of its author/singer, Dan Treacy . . . he went missing for years, and people assumed he had died, but he was actually incarcerated on a prison ship for drugs-related charges. He’s wrestled with mental illness for many years, and sadly in 2011 suffered a brain clot and coma, so when last I heard he was in a nursing home situation, probably permanently. While the phrase “Closer to God” would imply some increased state of spiritual awareness, the anguished way he delivers it throughout the song makes me think that it’s really about him despairing of his mortality, through the lens of his Catholic school boy upbringing . . .

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