Monthly Archives: February 2017

Day 9 Update

An extremely tiring but rewarding day today! An important decision from the physical therapist was that a standard walker is a very bad idea for Dan right now – it’s just not stable or sturdy enough. Therapy included practice with a rolling cardiac walker (imagine a tall walker that you rest your forearms on). Although he had two people with him providing guidance, Dan walked twenty-two feet the first time, and thirty feet the second time. This is a great improvement!

Recreational therapy was up next. This is to provide a little fun with all of the hard work – sometimes games, sometimes just relaxation. Today’s session was playing catch with Chance, a very friendly but focused German shepherd (shown here).

After lunch it was into occupational therapy. This included moving a weighted sliding box on a table to build upper-body strength, lifting a lightly weighted bar (not too much due to his back healing), and going from sitting to standing to sitting repeatedly to gain more control in his motions.

All of this therapy is definitely taking a lot out of Dan by the end of the day. He is feeling accomplished overall, and getting great positive feedback from his therapists, though it’s still a long road ahead. By tomorrow afternoon we will hopefully have a better idea of when he might be going home and when he can return to work.

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2l9reYv

ejacutastic: never try to consider yourself one of “the good” privileged people because tbh that…

ejacutastic:

never try to consider yourself one of “the good” privileged people because tbh that just is cutting you off from continually learning and continually deconstructing your privilege and learned bullshit. every time i’ve thought “ok i’m one of the good guys now” i’ve learned more fucked shit i’m doing and deconstructed more bullshit and if you continually cling to “BUT I’M NOT RACIST/SEXIST/TRANSPHOBIC/ETC” you’re refusing to face the possibility that you could still be doing really bad shit and that means you’re part of the problem. being aware of privilege doesn’t mean you’re absolved of it.

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2lTFkdy

Day 8 Update

This morning’s occupational therapy was very upper-body intensive, which is good since that is going to be necessary. The only downside to this was that the afternoon’s physical therapy included his first attempt at walking with parallel bars. Dan was able to practice walking motions while carrying the majority of his weight on his arms. Definitely an improvement, though.

I mentioned it this morning, but I sort of buried the lede yesterday: Dan’s physical and occupational therapists told him that given his current state and the improvement that he has shown, the chances are very good that he will be able to walk unassisted in the future. Now, how long that will take is still up for grabs, but that is still fantastic news.

More good news today: Dan has been approved for short term disability for four weeks at 100%, (after burning a week of vacation) and another four weeks at 100% is available if necessary (it drops down to 66% after that). With luck he will be able to start back to work before that eight weeks is exhausted.

Interestingly, one of the therapists asked Dan what his goals were to go home. He said he wanted to walk (assisted) 50 feet, and have a way to go up and down stairs by himself, among other things. The therapist seemed to think those were good goals, and that he may not need three full weeks of therapy for that.

All in all, there weren’t necessarily any huge breakthroughs today, but a lot of very promising tidbits. That’s the kind of thing that keeps Dan (and me!) going. He is maintaining a strong positive outlook and a firm belief that this is something that can be beaten. Damn, I love my husband!

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2myk2SO

Day 7 Update

Another busy day today, with three full hours of therapy. Occupational therapy this morning was working on transfer from the wheelchair to the bed and to the tub bench, as well as chair push-ups (pushing out of the wheelchair using his arms), and leg raises. Physical therapy this afternoon was some exercises while lying on a mat and practicing going from sitting to standing with a walker. It turns out that he had been doing it wrong (since he hadn’t received any training), moving too quickly. Now it is a nice smooth procedure and a lot more stable!

It was also quite busy visitor-wise. Thanks to Jim, Jenne, Woody, Jake, Misti, Jeff, and Rusty for coming by for extended visits. I know that Dan was a little wiped out after his therapy but seeing all these friendly faces really helps keep his spirits up!

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2m0eweg

Day 6 Update

Fantastic start to the day! Dan got a shower and got to wash his hair. It’s amazing what a difference something small like that can make. There was 90 minutes of physical therapy this morning, consisting of “walking” motions while sitting in a wheelchair, moving his feet back and forth on a skateboard, and learning better ways to transfer from the wheelchair to the bed and wheelchair to the commode. The walking motions were great since he said he had more feeling in his feet than before, a tingling like the nerves are trying to wake up. The new transfer procedures are a huge improvement in getting around, too.

I came over after lunch, then we had a great visit with Linnaeus, sitting in the cafeteria, chatting and catching up. Unfortunately right after he left Dan was hit with another IBS attack, a quite painful one. He is currently skipping dinner to relax in bed and waiting for the pain and nausea to pass. Tonight will be a quiet one. I’m going to step away from a bit and get some dinner, then come back and just hang out and keep him company for a bit.

There’s a bit more going on tomorrow, according to his schedule. Occupational therapy from 9:00 AM – 10:30 PM, then physical therapy 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM then again 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. I expect Dan is going to be pretty worn out by Sunday night, but company is welcome during the day.

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2lS82xA

Day 5 Update

Three hours of therapy this morning, mostly establishing a
baseline for comparison as Dan improves. He also got a better idea of what life
will be like here in the rehabilitation ward, and it’s certainly an improvement
over where he has spent the past few days.

Dan has the afternoon off and is sitting comfortably in a
wheelchair next to me as I type this (he was sitting up for four hours
straight!). He didn’t sleep well last night due to thunderstorms and nurses
going in and out of the room, though as he heals more that should decrease. We went
for a nice wander around the hospital (with him in a wheelchair of course,
though with no input from me) so he could see more than just the usual area
around his room, too.

Dan is showing great mobility in the wheelchair (good
upper-body strength!) though hopefully he won’t be relying on that long-term.
Every day more feeling is coming back to his feet, though it’s still
incremental improvements. He did a great job of going from sitting in the
wheelchair to standing in the walker, though is definitely unsteady on his
feet. He can lock his knees and stay upright, but for heaven’s sake don’t try
to move those feet!

All in all, a great first day in rehab. Things only go up
from here!

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2lEnUmO

Book Review: The Lords of Davenia series, by Mason Thomas

 

Lord Mouse (Lords of Davenia, Book 1), by Mason Thomas

Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.

But that could change.

When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin-enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.

Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.

The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia, Book 2), by Mason Thomas

Auraq Greystone, once a military officer with a promising future, exists on the fringe of society. Accused of murder, Auraq is on the run from the ax-until two fugitives crash into his solitary life. One is a young man named Kane. The glowing marks on his arm pulse with an otherworldly power, and they have made him the target of a sinister organization called the Order of the Jackal. When the old man protecting Kane dies in an ambush, Auraq swears an oath to take his place.

But the runes are far more significant than they realize. They are a message from the shadow realm, a dark memory of the past-one holding evidence of a bloody massacre and its savage architect; one that will shake the kingdom to its foundation. Risking arrest and execution, Auraq fights to get Kane to the capital city where the cryptic marking can be unlocked. And with assassins close on their trail, Auraq might never get the chance to show Kane what’s in his heart-or the way their journey together has changed him.

The Shadow Mark is an epic tale of magic, murder, conspiracy, betrayal, and-for the two men tasked with unraveling the mystery-love and redemption.

Ratings:
Lord Mouse – 4.75 out of 5
The Shadow Mark – 4.25 out of 5

One of the big challenges of writing high fantasy is how to approach a genre that is so well-traveled. You can spend a lot of time world-building, and try to create something novel. Alternatively, you can sketch out a world (general social class structure, level of technology, where the characters fit into the world) and let the reader fill in the blanks. Mason Thomas takes the latter approach here, and in my opinion it’s an excellent choice.

The driving force in these books is the characters. Mouse is clever, sarcastic, and morally questionable at times. Garron is a strong-principled man, born to the noble class but not blinded by it (usually). The two make for a fun pairing as they spark off one another initially and slowly grow together. Auraq is smart and wise in the ways of the commoners’ world, and willing to honor an oath at all costs. We get less of a good mental picture of Kane, which is why I favored The Shadow Mark somewhat less. He is a likeable enough character, although driven by forces beyond his control.

The bulk of Lord Mouse is essentially a caper. Mouse setting up the escape, then Mouse and Garron (and some unexpected allies) finding their way out of captivity. The mystery is wrapped up neatly and the ending is quite satisfying, with no cliffhanger. The Shadow Mark is more of a quest as Auraq and Kane fight to find someone to make sense of the glowing marks. Again, the mystery is wrapped up well, though there are a few loose ends left over for later books.

I believe that one of the hallmarks of a good author is the quality of their secondary characters, and the roles that they play in the story. Thomas populates the books with a wide cast of characters, and they are well-defined and interesting to read. You know what their motivations are, or what they might be, or perhaps you think you know, but you’re wrong! This makes the story so much more enjoyable.

Thomas’ writing is a pleasure. The stories are well-plotted and well-paced. Descriptions are lush but not overly drawn out, and the reader is able to easily imagine what this world looks like. A stereotypical fantasy-world map might be useful here, but it’s not really a necessity. For all that these books take place in the same world at approximately the same time, they are stand-alone and could be read in either order, though a few references are made in The Shadow Mark that tie it loosely to Lord Mouse. The “heat level” here is relatively low, and all but nil in The Shadow Mark. I’m just happy to see strong gay main characters in well-written fantasy stories!

I am very much looking forward to book three in this series.
Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2lBsoL7

Day 4 Update

Dan was moved over to the rehab ward of the hospital today. This is going to be a big improvement for him. It will include daily hygiene routines, like taking a shower and brushing your teeth, putting on and wearing normal clothes, and communal meals with the other patients in the middle of the ward. Initially, he is scheduled for 90 minutes of occupational therapy and 90 minutes of physical therapy. The therapy is done at a gym several floors down, so he will get to go out and about around the hospital, though in a wheelchair.

Dan received some lovely and thoughtful gifts today from Perro & Mahoney and Mwako (silly lion!). Thanks to Lex for an absolutely gorgeous walking cane! It may be a while before he can use it, but it will be extremely useful down the line.

So here is where we’re at: likely 2-3 weeks in the rehab ward, then 4 weeks of in-home therapy, and outpatient therapy thereafter. The reality is that this is some serious nerve damage. It will take 12-18 months of recovery, and some things may not come back at all. Right now, standing unaided is impossible and walking is out of the question. But that is just right now. Every day that goes by brings improvement, large and small. Dan is a fighter, and I know he is going to work his ass off every possible moment to beat this.

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2mk00LD

Hello, it is my job to make people second guess openingly asking for asks. :D Just kidding, but really quick question. Probably the most important question I ask everyone. Waffles, Pancakes, or French Toast?

Tough call, but I have to go with French toast. How can you go wrong with some good thick bread, soaked in a delicately-flavored custard, topped with some dark maple syrup…

Dammit, now I want some French roast.

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2mdAHye

Q&A

(snagged from @wynteruniverse, who Tumblr won’t let me tag for some reason)

Not that anyone cares, but I desperately need distractions right now and this looks like a fun one.

Nickname: Duncan, Duncan da Husky

Star sign: Aquarius

Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)

Time right now: 14:44

Favorite music artist(s): Lordy, this changes at a moment’s notice. Lately I’ve been on a dance/pop kick so there’s a lot of Tiesto, Martin Garrix, David Guetta, etc. I also like ambient instrumental stuff like Tycho, Explosions in the Sky, and Lowercase Noises. Finally, I’m a sucker for folky/rock stuff like Passenger, Carbon Leaf, and Spirit of the West.

Last movie I watched: I don’t really watch many movies. The last movie I saw in a theater was Jason Bourne.

Last tv show watched: Building Off the Grid. Yeah, it’s a dumb homebuilding show, but it’s fun to skip through occasionally.

What are you wearing right now?: Business casual – blue striped long-sleeve button down shirt, gray slacks, black walking shoes. Because I should be working but can’t concentrate enough to do that 🙂

When did you make your blog?: Which one? I started my LiveJournal blog in January 2002. I’ve been blogging off and on using various platforms since then. I started this Tumblr blog in August, 2013.

What kind of stuff do you post: Book reviews, random musings I don’t want to post to Twitter (which gets autoposted to Facebook for my family to see), occasional fanboying of some of the authors and artists I follow here, reblogging of things that amuse me.

Do you have any other blogs?: I no longer post to LiveJournal and have imported all of my posts to my WordPress site at http://ift.tt/2mcDtDU. Posts to this Tumblr are also echoes to that site. I post far more frequently  (for better or worse) to Twitter, at http://twitter.com/duncandahusky

Do you get asks regularly?: Not at all, really. I’m an open book though so if anyone ever has any questions, fire away!

Why did you choose your URL?: Duncan da Husky is me 🙂 I picked up the nickname Duncan when I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism back in the early 1990’s (Lord Duncan MacKinnon of Tobermory is still registered with the SCA’s College of Heralds, as is my unique heraldic device!). When I became active in furry fandom in the late 90’s, I was already used to being called Duncan more than my real name so I kept that. I identify closely with dogs, and Siberian huskies especially, so there you go.

Hogwarts house: Hufflepuff, according to Pottermore. Eh, I’ll take it.

Pokemon team: No habla Pokemon

Favorite color: Purple

Average hours of sleep: I aim for eight, but more usually it’s around six and a half.

Lucky numbers: Um. 7?

Favorite characters: Balto (Balto), Nick Wilde (Zootopia), Deacon Parish (Amy Lane’s Promise Rock series), Ox (TJ Klune’s Wolfsong), Bear (TJ Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid series), Roan Mackichan (@notmanos‘ Infected series)

Favorite public figure: None at the moment

How many blankets do you sleep with?: Always a comforter, and an extra blanket for the winter months as well

Dream job: Alaskan tour coordinator

Blah blah tag people whatever – fill this out if you want to, how about that?

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2mcDBD1

I am confused

killfrost2:

Why are all of the toys from my childhood on this shelf labeled retro?

I’m sorry, you’re now old. Please report to the senior center for your cardigan and rocking chair. Enjoy your episodes of Matlock and Murder She Wrote. ???

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2miZtbU

duncandahusky:Nothing like stress-testing the “in sickness and in health” part of our wedding vows. …

duncandahusky:

Nothing like stress-testing the “in sickness and in health” part of our wedding vows. I’m at his side no matter what happens.

So, to be somewhat less cryptic: My husband (40 years old) collapsed yesterday after losing feeling and control in his lower extremities. It turned out to be congenital spinal stenosis – an abnormally narrow channel for the spinal cord between the vertebrae. Basically, the bone was growing into his spinal cord. This has been going on all along and was a ticking time bomb. I guess it’s good that he was at home, but I got to learn what it’s like to call 911 and have the ambulance come to your house (the EMT’s were awesome, by the way).

Off to the hospital we went, and late last night he had emergency spinal surgery: lumbar laminectomy from L2 to S1. There was a good bit of trauma to the nerves in his lower back, and nerves don’t bounce back quickly. We are looking at 12-18 months of recovery, a good portion of which is going to be learning how to walk again.

I’m not going to lie. This is fucking terrifying. It is going to change our lives completely, but this is the new normal and we have to deal with it. The important thing is that I still have the man I love, and god dammit together we will make this work! The support we have received from our friends and family near and far has been overwhelming and immensely gratifying. We are not alone in this, and for this I will be eternally grateful.

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2kG0L4z

Book Review: Rogue Magic, by Kit Brisby

Rogue Magic, by Kit Brisby

While trapped in a stalled subway train on his morning commute, PR rep Byron Cole flirts with Levi, a young waiter with adorable curls. But Byron’s hopes for romance crash and burn when Levi saves him from a brutal explosion-with outlawed magic.

When Levi is imprisoned, Byron begins to question everything he’s ever believed. How can magic be evil when Levi used it to save dozens of lives? So Byron hatches a plan to save Levi that will cost him his job and probably his life. If he doesn’t pull it off, Levi will be put to death.

Byron discovers that he isn’t the only one questioning America’s stance on magic. And he learns that Levi is stubborn, angry, and utterly enchanting. Time is running out, though. Byron must convince Levi to trust him, to trust his own magic, and to fight against the hatred that’s forced him to hide his true nature his entire life. The more Levi opens up, the harder Byron falls. And the more they have to lose.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

This was such a fun book! Brisby has done a very nice job of world-building here, imagining a world like our own but some people are born with magic. Magic is seen as dangerous, a threat to society and rigidly controlled. Mages are required to be registered with the government and wear magic-nullifying bracelets. Sure, the bracelets cause constant pain and a high percentage of registered mages commit suicide, but at least society is safe, right?

Byron is the nephew of the chairman of Cole Industries, an enormous company that is the driving force in magic suppression and control, possibly more powerful than even the government. For him to start questioning his beliefs is a very big deal indeed.

The plotting and pacing of this book were great, and the suspense really ratchets up throughout the book. I adored the main characters. Byron is socially inept and “weird” and yet a good and thoughtful man who is trying to do the right thing. Levi is someone who has always just tried to fly below the radar but now is forced to endure medical testing and be subjected to some truly horrifying procedures. I would have liked to get a better feel for Levi’s personality before this all went down, but it’s understandable why he is written the way he is. I loved that Levi maintained a grim sense of humor and sarcasm throughout the story, though. The blossoming romance between Byron and Levi was incredibly sweet, and I was cheering them on the whole time.

The side characters are great as well, from Victoria, the anti-magic scientist recruited to help Levi, and Eleanor, Victoria’s maybe-girlfriend and Byron’s snarky roommate, to Byron’s shady, unscrupulous uncle. They and others supported the story well and yet still seemed well-developed.

Brisby’s writing flows well, and she does a good job of slowly ramping up the pacing as the suspense kicks in. Little modern touches like social media addictions and smartphone games help to ground the story in the present and help the reader get a better mental picture of the book’s world. Overall the “heat factor” is pretty low here save for a few intimate moments, but the developing relationship between Byron and Levi is even more enjoyable to me than paragraphs of steamy scenes anyway.

I happily recommend this book, and look forward to seeing more of Kit Brisby’s writing in the future!

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2kA4OPC

Book Review: Wolfmanny, by Julie Talbot

 

Wolfmanny, by Julie Talbot

Three hot werewolves, sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife, an impending Colorado winter, and a rambunctious pack of werewolf pups. Stand back and watch the fur fly.

When Kenneth Marcon loses his nanny to a bite from one of his inherited kids, he knows he needs someone strong to contain five werewolf children. What he finds isn’t a stalwart nanny, but a werewolf manny named Jack. Kenneth and his assistant, Miles, aren’t sure if Jack is what they need, but he’s what they have to work with.

Jack’s got what it takes to keep the kids busy-and attract both Miles’s and Kenneth’s attention. The two old friends have been circling each other for years, but with Jack as the final piece to the puzzle, it’s time to finally act on those urges. When Kenneth is forced to travel instead of solidifying the bond with his new mates, Jack and Miles take desperate measures to get him back, even as they save the kids from one disaster after another. Amidst the chaos, they have to learn how to become not just a pack, but a family.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

This book was far more entertaining than it has any right to be. The world-building is sketchy (we know there are werewolves and shifters of other species), the dramatic conflict is low, we have insta-mates (“I have just met you and I know that we are destined for each other!”) and really not much of any import happens. And yet – the characters are very sweet, the domesticity is comforting, and the ménage à trois is hotter than heck!

Jack is a former soldier of some type now an employee of Nose to Tail, Inc., a company of various types of shifters that you hire to get things done when they must get done. This isn’t his first “manny” (male nanny) job, but it may be his most complicated, dealing with a teenager, two tweens, and two toddlers/cubs. The father, Kenneth, is a multimillion-dollar business mogul trying to find time for his family and his business. Miles, Kenneth’s second-in-command, has been devoted to Kenneth all his life with no hint of romance and is swept up into the threesome with a gratified astonishment that is simply adorable.

Almost the entire book takes place at the family’s isolated Colorado home. Scenes typically devolve into a frenzied display of Jack juggling the kids’ needs and working with the multitudinous house staff to make the whole thing run. To be honest, the way it was written appealed to the logistics geek in me, which is probably another reason I enjoyed this book so much! The scenes in bed are well-written and aside from being damned sexy also make me smile to see three men so genuinely happy together.

Talbot’s writing flows well, and while the books pacing got a little slow at times, it was still a fun read. The fact that these characters are shifters is more incidental to the story than anything, but it does add some interesting touches. I would hope that future installments in the Nose to Tail, Inc. series up the dramatic tension a bit, but I suspect I will happily read them even if they don’t.

(I made it through the entire review without commenting on the book’s title. Just…yeah. It’s an awful pun and let’s leave it at that!)

Also posted on Tumblr at: http://ift.tt/2m9mIFf