This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



May 2005

Swimming Infinity



One Ear

imageWhen I was up in Pittsburgh for the wedding, I felt a little bit of a lump in my throat, and when I swallowed I would feel it a little bit in my ear. Nothing big, but something. I did not think much of it. And then I flew home…

The decent into Orlando was very uncomfortable. The pressure bothered me a lot more than usual. And then once I was off the plane, it did not go away in my right ear. It continued to feel like it was under pressure, and it was hard to hear out of that ear.

As it turns out, Amy had a stomach flu that day, and as soon as I got home, Brandy and I traded off Amy, and my job was to take Amy to her new Doctor. (New cause Brandy now has new health insurance from work, so we found someone under her plan.) So, I took AMy into the doctor. But the whole time I was there, my ear was bothering me. And not just bothering me, but getting worse. So, as we were finishing up with Amy, I signed myself up to be seen next. (The doctor is in my plan too, and I may just switch… I like my old doctor, but this one is closer to home, and it might be good for the whole family to just go the same place.)

Anyway, one look in my ear and she says: “Oh yeah, you have an ear infection. It is very swollen in there.” And my throat wasn’t all that good off either. She said there was one spot in the membrane that was obviously weak and sticking out. She said it could break at any moment, and if it broke it would be right there.

Urgh! I had a friend who got an ear infection on a plane, and then ended up having to have many surgeries and losing his hearing in that ear. Ouch! But she assured me that the little nub where it would break if it broke was small, and would heal if it broke. So I have visions of a small hole breaking in my eardrum and pus squirting out of that ear at high velocity. Of course, it would most likely just ooze.

She basically said that if it broke, the pressure would suddenly be relieved, but then I wouldn’t be able to swim or anything until it heals (which takes a decent amount of time). On the other hand, if it did NOT break (which is actually better) then it might take weeks for the pressure to fully normalize, even with the antibiotics and such she was giving me.

Oh, joy.

I asked several times if it was safe to fly, and if I should be going on my trip to Connecticut, or if I should be seeing if I should cancel. She said I should be fine to fly. It might be uncomfortable, maybe quite so, but I should be fine.

Uh, goody.

Anyway, I of course traveled anyway.

Before leaving Tuesday, the pressure had gone down somewhat in the ear. It was not gone, but I could basically hear again.

The first leg of the flight (Orlando to Pittsburgh) was OK. Not that bad. More uncomfortable than usual, but not crazy. The second leg though (Pittsburgh to White Plains) was on a commuter jet, and when we came in for a landing I was miserable. I felt like the side of my head was about to explode. And when I got off the plane the pressure did not go away. It felt like I was wearing a plunger over that side of my head. I could barely hear on my right side, and it was quite uncomfortable.

So I don’t think there has been any popping yet.

Anyway, at my meetings with the client Wednesday, I tried to sit so the people I needed to ehar were on my left, but it diodn’t fully work. It sounded to me for the whole meeting like people were whispering. I feel for those with perminant hearing impairment, cause I’ve now had a glimpse.

As far as I can remember, I never had an ear infection before, even as a child where I know they are sometimes common. It ain’t fun, but still better than other kinds of sick you could have. I’d rather have this than a bad stomach flu or respritiory infection. But still. Annoying.

Once again last night the pressure has gone down a bit. Still there. But no longer so distracting I want to shove a pencil through my head.

In a few minutes I leave for the second round of meetings with our client. Then, this afternoon, two more plane flights. White Plains to Philly, then Philly to Orlando. I normally don’t mind flights at all. But the knowledge that my ear is going to be attacking me the whole way (especially on landings it seems) is making me think that perhaps I should just consider walking the 1161 miles home from here.

Nah. I’ll just do the “embrace the pain” thing instead.

Uh, and use the painkillers the doc gave me if it seems warrented. :-)

I Killed Them… I Killed Them ALL

imageOne of the tasks I had Tuesday before leaving home for a business trip (Connecticut this time) was to give the tadpoles more room. The plan I had been talking about for over a week was taking the tank they were in, pouring half of it into another container (along with half the tadpoles) and then adding water to both containers. End goal being to give all the tadpoles more room. They were growing very rapidly. Most over three quarters of an inch. Some maybe an inch including the tail. And while they did not have legs yet, they had froggy heads. They would definitely need more room, and more room soon.

I followed the plan. I filled the tanks back up from water from the hose.

Brandy had apparently tried to warn me, but I never understood what she was saying or why. She said we needed to clean out the pot we were going to use. And I did that, rinsing out the muck from the bottom. But she had meant more than that. I’m not sure what she said and how she said it, but I never got that there was more to it than that.

As it turns out, tap water, such as comes out of a hose, is apparently poison to most aquatic animals, including tadpoles. I knew not to use the water from the pool. I had no idea that I should not use the water from the hose.

I poured the water as planned from one container to the other. The tads just poured right out. It wasn’t quite even, but it was close enough. I thought about just leaving it like that, but the whole point had been to give them more room, and to do that water would have to be added. So, I turned on the hose…

A couple minutes later all the tadpoles were running around like crazy in both containers. I thought they were happily exploring their new environments and reveling in their newfound room to swim. They were not. They were in a horrible panic, trying to escape the poison I had put all around them.

A few minutes later, most of the tadpoles were still. Only a couple swam around when I came near. I thought they had done the things that frogs do when you catch them and they are nervous… tense up and get hard as a rock to be inconspicuous. They were not doing that. They were dying.

Right after filling the two pots, I had sent Brandy a happy email saying that the job was done and the froggies had plenty of room now. Right as just a few were still moving, I got an email back from Brandy saying essentially “Don’t use tap water!!”. But itr was too late. By the time I got back outside, they were all dead. All of them.

I called Brandy’s cellphone, distraught and bawling like a baby. But she was at work, and I only got her voice mail. So I emailed her. Later she called me back and tried to talk me down. But I was very very upset.

The tadpoles had been THRIVING. And HAPPY. They were growing rapidly, and not a single one had died. There were 30 some of them (I never did do an exact count). I had saved them from certain death…. Only to kill them with my own stupidity two weeks later.

I had been so proud of them. Proud that I had saved them, proud that they were doing well. And every day when I checked on them I was excited by their progress, and I was eagerly anticipating them slowly turning into frogs and then hopping away.

But I killed them.

IT has been almost two days since that happened. In the time since I have not really been able to stop thinking about it. On the way to the airport, on the planes on the way to Connecticut, during my business meetings during the day Wednesday. I was distracted and every once in awhile would just get very very sad. And the guilt is overwhelming.

Brandy keeps saying that I “tried” and that is what counts. But no, it is not. Ask the tadpoles. Oh, you can’t, cause they are DEAD. And I killed them. :-( Trying is a good thing, but what counts is succeeding. And what also counts on the other side is abject negligent failure. If I had killed 30 children, or even 30 puppies, maybe the reaction would be different. Just because they are frogs, it is somehow less important. But they were still innocent little things under my care, and I failed them.

I guess with the arrogance and inappropriateness of the title of my first post on the frogs, and my pride and superiority over saving them, I needed to be put in my place or something. And so I screw up majorly.

All I needed to do was listen to Brandy better (she says she tried to tell me, although she never made a big point of it, cause she assumed I knew I guess), or just wait to do it when she was home. Or if I had just decided I didn’t have time and had just left them alone until after my trip… any of these options and they would still be alive and happy.

I am still very sad. I was so happy that the tadpoles were doing well. And I thought I was helping them, but instead…

Poor little baby froggies.

I am so sorry. :-(