please proceed, Governor
Tuesday, October 16 2012
The lump in one of Gretchen's armpits has been growing aggressively, turning dark and causing pain. It now has two lobes and the mass of a golf ball. Initially we were concerned that it might be a symptom of something serious like cancer, but we've since come to believe that it is an abscess of some sort. (Still, as a hedge against a bad prognosis, yesterday Gretchen had signed us up for a cheap form of health insurance that will cost us about $380/month.) Gretchen has been treating it with hot compresses, which seem to have helped. But today when she found herself describing it to our friend Paul (the guy with the big church in the Rondout), he was horrified and insisted that she let him drive her to the emergency room at Northern Dutchess Hospital (in Rhinebeck). After some consideration, she said what the hell, so he came over and drove her away in his massive pickup truck. Some time later they returned. The lump had been diagnosed as an abscess, and, surprisingly, one that had been caught an "at an early stage." The solution in this case was not to lance and drain it, since the body could take care of it if assisted with a course of antibiotics. Paul (who evidently knows about such things) had been wise to take Gretchen to Northern Dutchess; serving a wealthy area, it is cleaner, less crowded, and more orderly than the hospitals in Kingston. Gretchen, who has had lots of bad experiences at the hands of medical professionals, was impressed by the treatment she'd received.
Paul hung out with us for awhile in the living room while an autumnal fire blazed in the woodstove. He and I discussed the possibility of setting up a remote monitoring and control system for his Rondout church in case he and Ingrid really do move to the Berkshires of Massachusetts (something that now seems likely, as a closing date on the property he is buying has been set).
Eventually Liza arrived from her evening classes at Marist College, Paul went home, and another presidential debate started recording in our DVR. After Obama's shitty performance in the first debate, I was looking forward to this one with hope mixed with dread (as was Gretchen). But we hadn't been watching the debate long before it was clear that a very different Obama had shown up for this one. He had his usual serenity and cool, which helped to outline and showcase something else he had, which he'd lacked before: anger and aggressiveness. Obama actually does passion very well. It comes off as swagger, and because this was something Romney felt he had to match, he kept being thrown off his game. Romney doesn't do swagger; passion for him comes off as bulling (or at least grating). A good example of this last night was when Romney repeatedly asked Obama if he had looked at his pension, setting Obama up for a cooly-delivered zinger. Parts of the debate were groan-inducing (particularly for Gretchen), such as when Obama and Romney argued with each other about which of them wanted to drill for the most oil, utterly ignoring global warming and the easily-taught reality that oil is a finite fungible resource. But the substance of a debate is always beside the point; it's more of a spectacle for the reptilian part of the brain. And it was on that level that this debate made for such engrossing television. When I saw Romney walk into the carefully-prepared trap Obama laid ("Please proceed, Governor") regarding the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, I knew I was watching history in the making. By the end of the debate, I was feeling much better about Obama's prospects for preventing Mitt Romney from becoming the leader of the most powerful nation on the only inhabitable planet known in the Universe.
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