Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Itis Family

Good golly, my apartment is just stuffed full of healthiness.


I went to the Urgent Care Clinic when I lost half my hearing last week, and the doctor cheerfully informed me that I was suffering from bronchitis. I've never had it before and I don't even feel like I have it now -- no wheezing or rattling or anything -- but that's why He's The Doctor.

After rushing me through the diagnosis and prescription, the doctor asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a technical writer. He then launched into a spiel about product design which lasted at least ten minutes, and I'm not exaggerating.

He said that products should require no documentation whatsoever. He said we need to spend money on better human interfaces. He pulled a Blackberry out of one pocket and an iTouch out of the other, and proceeded to describe all of their features and differences (pretending the iTouch was his iPhone, which he didn't have on him), concluding that the iPhone was perfectly engineered and that even his autistic son was capable of using it.

It was difficult to get a word in, but I did my best. I explained that simple products with single workflows require little or no documentation, but software is rarely like that, and the more flexible a product is the more documentation it requires. I explained that everybody has a different level of competence and background knowledge. I explained that his iPhone appeals to a very different market than his Blackberry, generalized to "hip consumer" versus "conservative businessman." I also wondered if his autistic son would be able to understand all the options for interfacing the iPhone with different products or use all of its options without a manual, but I was sort of afraid that would sound belittling.

Plus there were people in the waiting room who'd been sitting there for over two hours, waiting for an available doctor.

Anyway, I'm on these horse-pill antibiotics and ephedrine decongestants, which are NOTHING like the nightclub drugs they can supposedly be turned into, but they do sometimes give me goosebumps. My hearing has returned, but when I blow my nose I sometimes hear a weird squeltching noise.


A different doctor -- from Waterloo Sports Medicine -- has diagnosed me with acute rotator cuff tendonitis, which means that a tendon inside the bony part of my right shoulder has become terribly inflamed. He described it as "a simple problem that's very difficult to fix," and said it came about "through a series of trivial mishaps all coming together." Those mishaps included slipping on the ice, bashing it against a wall, reaching too far behind me, learning to play the bass, and putting on an insane outfit three weeks ago that involved multiple zips and buttons in the middle of my back.

Today was my first day of physiotherapy. It's incredible what these people know about bones. I have to do a few exercises which involve lying down and lifting an umbrella, and she even told me how I can sleep without waking up in pain every hour: lie on my back with a pillow on my stomach, my right arm resting on the pillow.

This sounds good but it's like having a chubby person lying on me. A chubby person wearing cordouroy.

That's why I'm up right now writing this. Totally changing my sleeping positions -- which I've no doubt had since I was, well, a toddler -- will take some getting used to.


On Friday, Zsa Zsa's right eye began to leak. That eye has always tended to get a tiny bit crusty, but now it's literally dripping water and -- if we're lucky -- little streaks of pus. I tried to treat it with cotton balls dipped in hot salt water (thanks mom!) but that hasn't helped, so today we went to see the vet.

The vet was less concerned with her eye than she was with Zsa Zsa's well-documented kidney problems. I was like, "Yeah, I know, she's on a swift decline with no solution short of an organ transplant, and the next step will no doubt be to put her to sleep...but what about her GROSS EYE?"

Conjunctivitis, predictably. Twice a day I'm squeezing little lines of goop onto her eyeball, which is less disturbing than it sounds. What's most disconcerting is the way the goop oozes out of the tube ENTIRELY ON ITS OWN VOLITION, as though it were alive. Also disconcerting was the bill.

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