Oct 13 2005

Recursus Triumphus


Howdy yall. Home at last. Yeah, I know my most recent self-portrait was gross, but it’s got nothing on this "breakfast"–I kid you not, that’s what they called it–that I was expected to eat less than 24 hours after getting my boob scooped out.

The object pictured above is but one of the reasons this week’s mastectomy was the worst single experience of my life to date, with the possible exception of the day 6 years ago when I was served "crabcakes" made of ground drywall at a "restaurant" in St. Louis, Missouri called Jimmy’s On The Green Tavern Park Cafe.

To those of my well-wishers who have expressed in interest in the particulars of my convalescence, I am home and lounging comfortably with my dogs, my pal and volunteer nurse Rachel, and my new best friend Drain-O (a.k.a. "Bloodbag" or "Drainiac"), the little rubber tube/suction cup thing sticking out of my side that sucks out the repulsive bloody fluid accumulating in the hole in my chest that previously contained my right breast. I am in very little pain and have quit smoking and am in excellent spirits.

To those of you who have asked if you can send me stuff–and gadzooks, what sweethearts you are–I do not have an Amazon list, but if you would like to make suggestions as to what I should put on there, I guess I could start one. What I really need are mystery novels, or old movies, or even some good old patriarchy-affirming yet diverting SF. Email me.

Meanwhile, I learned a lot during my two-nighter at the hospital. Such as:

Meet Your Anesthesiologist Ahead Of Time

I rashly declined this option, assuming for no good reason that she would be the same nice, intelligent girl from last week’s biopsy, who’d gotten me under without a hitch. So when the anesthesiologist turned out, to my intense surprise and mounting disappointment, to be an octogenarian with gin blossoms, a dark unease crept over me. Nothing against old drunk guys, but from the patient’s perspective, anesthesiology is a poor career choice for them. Mine was a world class chump. After stabbing me twice in the back of the hand to jab my IV thing in, taping it at a painful angle, and finishing with a condescending pat, he caught his foot, upon his doddering exit from my midst, on the tube, and yanked the whole thing out, causing to arc across the room a dramatic jet of my personal blood. I do not remember his first name, but his last name is Eden, ha, and my advice to my fellow Austinites is this: if you see an ancient incompetent alkie with a large purple nose coming at you with a gas mask, flee.


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  1. Metta

    Welcome home. On the sci-fi novel front, there’s anything by Ursula K LeGuin, who is always excellent. My personal favourite is a Scots author named Iain M. Banks (he publishes regular fiction without the ‘M’). He’s a patriarchy blamer who gets it. All of it. His feminist, class, and political analysis are all in place and solid. Added to which, the bastard writes like shredded magnesium ribbon. If you’re inclined, these are my favs: ‘The Player Of Games’, ‘Use of Weapons’, ‘Inversions’, and ‘Against A Dark Background’. ‘Games’ and ‘Weapons’ should probably be read in sequence, as they provide a good grounding for ‘The Culture’ (or you could take a look at Banks’ own notes here: http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/~stefan/culture.html).


  2. SneakySnu

    Yeay Twisty!

    I had a D&C after a miscarriage this summer. The worst part was not the miscarriage; it was the anaesthesiologist who, not convinced that my stomach was empty enough to drug me up, shoved tubes up my nose that I then had to swallow in order to suck whatever gastric juices were left in there. I still gag when I think about it. And the operating room was kept at about 45 degrees.

    A sense of humor really is a brilliant survival strategy.

  3. Jodie

    If you ever have to have anesthesia again, insist on a nurse anesthetist. :) In general, they tend to be more caring and (having been nurses first) are generally pretty good at the whole bedside manner thing. That’s not always true of the MDs.

    And the rule with sticks is that they only get two tries (only 1 try if it hurts a lot); after that, they have to find someone else.

    Have you read 1632 or the Honor Harrington scifi series? I recently read both and enjoyed them.

  4. nicky

    Twisty: For the common good, I demand that you start your Amazon wish-list ASAP. I realize you think this adventure in 21st-century medicine is all about you, but now is the time to think of others, for crissake. We’re all out here wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth over our inability to do SOMETHING other than constantly re-check your blog to see what the latest word is. Have mercy upon us, woman!

    By the way — isn’t that drain tube the fucking WORST?

    If I had your address I’d make and send you a little armpit pillow. Rest assured it would not be festooned with little pink ribbons.

  5. Elise

    Oh, Twisty – I’m so glad that part is over. What kind of mysteries do you like? I heart Dorothy Sayers, PD James, Martha Grimes and the other British greats, but I dunno if those would be up your alley. They might be the wrong kind of persnickety. Get that wish list posted pronto so we can inundate you with gifted love!

  6. d.e.i.x.i.s.

    I wish I could buy you stuff, but I’m an impoverished college student who just spent every last dollar of loan money on a shiny new G5. :-(

    Damn, you kick ass so hard. I wish I could do SOMETHING!

    I know! I’ll apologise for every ellipsis I’ve ever typed!!!

  7. Chris Clarke

    I do not remember his first name, but his last name is Eden

    It’s Dawn’s father!

    Smoking (not): good move. You may wish, when the longing hits you, to visualize each cigarette as the reified penis of the patriarchy. If that doesn’t help, make it Jesse Helms. That worked for me.

    And count me in as another “yes” vote for the Amazon list (or equivalent.) Tell Bert that when he’s setting it up for you he should refrain from sneaking in the heated dog bed and calves liver. Being marginally smarter than he is, we will figure out they’re not for you.

  8. Michelle

    Dear Twisty,

    I am 35 years old and have put off my annual GYN exam for over 2 years because I didn’t want to hear my doc tell me (again) that I am obese and need to lose weight (duh). Because of your honesty in sharing your experience of breast cancer, today I called and made an appointment. Although the whole damn thing sucks, it may help you in some small way to know something positive did come out of your courage to be so open with the whole interweb.

    Tacos for all, Michelle

    (Because I’m new to you I don’t really know what the whole taco thing is about. But all the other kids are doing it so.. yeh, TACOS!)

  9. Hogan

    my advice to my fellow Austinites is this: if you see an ancient incompetent alkie with a large purple nose coming at you with a gas mask, flee.

    I live in Philadelphia, and I’m totally taking this advice.

  10. Steph

    Glad to hear you’re home,in good company and away from scary breakfasts.

    And if ever I require surgery I will be arranging to meet my anaesthesiologist beforehand.

    Take care.

  11. Charles

    I’m new to your blog and love it, with the exception of that greasy flaccid bacon and air-filled pancakes pictured above. Please tell us you did not eat them, or that if you did you were forced to.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  12. emjaybee

    Wishing you Amazon freebies, excellent meals, and a speedy recovery. And some sort of suitable revenge upon incompetent anesthesiologists.

  13. Meribeth

    So glad you’re home and felt good enough to post with your usual wit. Fantastic!

    And in honor of, and in support of, your covalenscence I will join you in lounging

    Keep up the good work…but geeze do something about that shitty food….

  14. yankee transplant

    I had the Memphis version of the anesthesiologist from hell. It took my partner, Worlds Best Bleeding Heart Attorney to call.her.off and insist on a different approach. And I totally blame the Patriarchy for that. For everything, in fact. Ever more so.
    I’m glad you’re home, and I know the puppies are, too. I hope your recovery goes well and that this is the end of your troubles.
    Thanks for not giving in.

  15. yankee transplant

    I had the Memphis version of the anesthesiologist from hell. It took my partner, Worlds Best Bleeding Heart Attorney to call.her.off and insist on a different approach. And I totally blame the Patriarchy for that. For everything, in fact. Ever more so.
    I’m glad you’re home, and I know the puppies are, too. I hope your recovery goes well and that this is the end of your troubles.
    So glad you quit smoking! Probably one of the hardest parts of all this. Well worth it.

  16. yankee transplant

    Don’t know how I posted that twice.

  17. norbizness

    I know a very special aunt who’s getting some used Magic: The Gathering trading cards! Just kidding, I’m totally keeping those for myself.

  18. PrissyNot

    Glad to hear you came out at the other end okay! Happier to hear you’ve quit smoking (always a good thing). Bujold writes some good SF, very weird as to sexism, but satisfying nonetheless. Any of her science fiction is acceptable. Also, if you want good thrillers, try Dick Francis (Dick, not Richard, I know, but we must blame the patriarchy for this particular nickname). His heroes always win via brains, not brawn.

  19. Hissy Cat

    Dude. The anestheoligist: what the fuck? I thought that tripping over the tubing thing was only allowed in cartoons.

  20. peacebug

    twisty – couple authors whose books you might check out: daniel silva and mark billingham. also michael connolly and robert crais if you’re interested in LA noir of the police variety.

    austin’s libraries rock, BTW: access online, request books online, renew online. only thing required is to go (manchaca branch for you 78704-er) to pick it up.

    doing the library thing saves $$, saves trees, and it’s supportive of this lovely public service. amazon.com sometimes gives me the willies, it’s so patriarchy inspired (despite its name).

    cheers on your return home!

  21. yclepta

    Twisty –
    welcome home – back to your own bed and real food eh?
    Thanks for posting the photos of your self before and after your op. Two of my aunts and a close friend have had mastectomy’s in the last year and I am really glad I have seen what it’s like…..
    I also need gentle reminders to check my own breasts.
    I hope it helped you to take and share the pictures.
    Love and all the best to you

  22. Christine

    If you like your mystery with a bit of a comedic side, then check out an author named Tim Cockey. His first book is titled, “The Hearse You Came In On”. Main character is an undertaker. You can get a sneak peak at the first chapter of each book at his website, http://www.timcockey.com

    Rest and feel better.

  23. The Fat Lady Sings

    Hey there sweet thing!

    I’m guessing you gotta put up that Amazon list. Hell – the books will be a nice diversion – keep you’re mind centered in happy places. If you’d like some recommendations, try The Dark Wraith Forums. He’s got a thread going all about books – you’d like it. It’s a fun blog, with lots of politics and other juicy subjects thrown in. And he totally gets it – the whole patriarchy thing. I don’t know how – maybe his testosterone boosted his IQ, instead of its usual poisoning effect.

    And about anesthesiologists – shit!!, fuck!!, crap!!, bastard!!, motherfucking assholes!!! Sorry – had to get that out – it’s a tic; every time I hear that word! I have had a few surgeries lately (I’m bionic – set off metal detectors the world over. Hell, I even get to carry around a little card testifying to that fact – kinda like I’m some kind of secret agent!). Due to how I metabolize the drugs used, I have a nasty little habit of WAKING UP during the surgery. Not fun. Getting the (I will avoid the word) to listen to me depends entirely on the persons age and sex. As a result, I always tell whoever it is not to administer the paralytic agent, and to use a brain function monitor.

    Not that that matters one hoot to you. Sorry – I tend to ramble. Anyway – I am so glad you are OK, girlfriend; lots of prayers went your way on Monday. Take care, and remember to take those meds!

  24. kathy a

    glad you are home and in good spirits, and with luck, better food, too. whatever you think about your own braveness — that photo is brave and real.

    since you mentioned a desire for mysteries, i get to reveal my secret vice: mysteries by women authors, preferably of the amusing variety when i’m stressed. probably none of these suggestions is in danger of receiving the nobel prize for literature.

    elizabeth peters has an egyptological series featuring amelia peabody emerson, set in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, and she blames the patriarchy.

    joan hess makes me laugh out loud sometimes with her silly “maggody” series.

    laurie king writes wonderfully. one of her books is called “a monsterous regiment of women.” they are all terrific.

    also — sue grafton, nevada barr, margaret maron, dana stabenow, and julie smith.
    well, that’s a start anyway. let us know if you set up an amazon wish-list deal — or let me know if i can send somewhat used favorites along to you.

    take care.

  25. Celia

    Twisty, you are pretty damned brave to post your gross picture. I’m impressed that your sense of humor remains intact. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  26. magikmama

    Hey Twisty!

    Glad to hear you are back at home, and relatively safe. Enjoy some time to be quiet and relax, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Re:hospital food. I have found it is often useful when at hospitals to loudly announce that I am a vegetarian. This often ends up with me getting a plate of raw fruits and vegetables for every meal. While possibly somewhat unappetizing – it is surprisingly hard to completely ruin uncooked produce, no matter how poor of quality.

    Good luck with whatever you do. I’m glad to hear you have help, and I’m sure that Bertie will continue to inspire some goodness.

  27. DivorceDiva

    I guess that bacon actually does look worse than your chest.

    It’s frightening how inept important health care providers can be. The night nurse was the one who almost got me. She kinked my IV, then she couldn’t get it to work, then she pulled it apart showering me with fluid that was supposed to be going in me. I grabbed the whole mess with my other hand just before she sent an air bubble in. Luckily a competent nurse came in to see what was taking so long. JEEZ.

    A heads up about that damn drainage thingy– it sucks when they pull it out. Hadn’t gotten the Demerol on board yet.

    Looking forward to sending you an Amazon goody(or two– puppies have needs too).

    Keep on blaming the patriarchy– no one ever deserved it more.

  28. Sara

    Oh, Twisty, that is disgusting!!! How can you post something this gross on a public website?!? Sawed off body parts are just a fact of life, but hospital pancakes!!! Argh! The horror! My eyes! My EYES!!!

    heh heh

    I’m glad to know you’re back home where the food is edible. The less time you spend in hospitals, the better. Those places are likely to kill you. The food alone is likely to kill you. (Love that “SYRUP” packet. Good thing they labeled it clearly, ’cause in a hospital you can never be quite sure…)

    Oh, and I’m sorry you had to learn your anaesthesiologist lesson the same way I did. Fuck me for not thinking to warn you. See, I had that guy’s German cousin (same age, same gin blossoms, same technique, and oh the patronizing gurney-side manner — woof!) over here at Lahey Clinic for my third cancer-related outpatient surgery. (Well, fourth if you count the resident-botched biopsy I had before the second one over at Massachusetts General. Oh, and that reminds me: think before you let a resident or student touch you. I’ve found it works best for me if I let them look all they want, but no touching.)

    So yeah, more advice: Interview everybody in advance, if you have time and strength. You have the right to choose your own staff for Project Save Twisty. You have the right to set limits about what you will be exposed to. And I can’t imagine you don’t have lots of choices down there in and around Austin.

    Take care, kiddo.

    Oh, P. S.: I second Elizabeth Peters; my personal favorite was The Last Camel Died at Noon. And speaking of Scots, I’ve lately been digging a guy who’s not so well known here in the states, Alisdair Gray. The book Poor Things is something amazing, truly.

  29. Sara

    Uh…Alasdair Gray. Sorry.

  30. AndiF

    Welcome home.

    I already emailed you some mysteries and movies but I wanted to mention some places for finding good patriarchy-blaming scifi:

    Feminist SFF & Utopian Literature.

    In particular, check out their book and review list

    Another really good resource is the Lambda Sci-Fi Recommended Reading List. There’s also a pdf version you can download.

  31. nicky

    Yeah, Amazon.com is rather creepified, but they have a virtual mall of stuff (like cookware and music, for example). I would therefore encourage Twisty to not limit her wish list to DVDs and books. Make like a kid at Christmastime. What would you want Santa to bring you, since you’ve been such a good little girl?

  32. curiousgirl

    Hah. I laughed, I cried…what a great post. The so-called breakfast pictured above provoked the tears, in a way that the mastecotmy scars didn not; I pride myself on handling the bodily bottom line quite well, while the manner in which your blog and its conventions so clearly documented the dehumanizing process of disease and medicine brought tears to the ‘ol peepers.

    I laughed at the frightening picture of the drunken doc—thanks for your sense of humor.

  33. piny

    My first-ever anesthesiologist had to stick me with the needle eighteen times before hitting a vein. My hand looked like it had been attacked by wasps. And then, after it’d been flowing in for awhile and I was starting to feel groggy, I lifted my hand up and saw that it was soaked heel to fingertips in blood.

    >>(Love that “SYRUP” packet. Good thing they labeled it clearly, ’cause in a hospital you can never be quite sure…)>>

    Twisty should have squeezed it into her bedpan, maybe bought herself an extra few days inside.

    Good to hear from you, Twisty. I’m glad to hear you’ll be purchasing your own meals soon. And re: science-fiction authors, second the Iain M. Banks love. I would also check out Octavia Butler and Candas Jane Dorsey. And Barbara Hambly, for both science fiction and her Benjamin January mysteries.

    I don’t really have words for the picture of your chest post-mastectomy, other than to echo what every other commenter said more eloquently than I can.

  34. AndiF


    Canda Jane Dorsey is brilliant. I’m so happy to find someone else who reads her. I think a Paradigm of Earth is one of the most thoughtful, well-crafted, and intelligent books I’ve read.

  35. piny

    I’ve actually only read Black Wine, but it’s one of my favorites. It was like Ursula K. LeGuin’s anthropological stuff, but messier and livelier. I should browse in bookstores more often.

  36. antelope

    Yet more well wishes & book recommendations from up here in AK.

    Someone mentioned Dana Stabenow already, and I enjoy her a lot, but I really think our best Alaskan mystery author is John Straley, esp. The Woman Who Married a Bear. I also really like Walter Mosely mysteries, which throw in a lot of detail on middle class black L.A. in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s that I never would have known a thing about otherwise. He’s very nuanced on racism, moderately so on sexism.

  37. Rene

    I’m so glad you’re back. I think we may have chatted in real life some time or another about mysteries because I seem to remember that you, like me, love the painfully British golden-age mysteries (Sayers, Marsh, Peters, etc.) and the noir/hardboiled Americana stuff not so much. Well, have I got the writer for you: Michael Innes. A lot of his stuff is out of print, but he was so very goddamned prolific that there’s still a ton of it that isn’t. All of his Sir John Appleby mysteries are hysterical, elegantly written (very Johnsonian in syntax but with a very 20th-century absurdist streak), and satisfying. Plus, they’re pretty short and mostly in the form of little Penguin paperbacks that you can easily read whilst recumbent. And the best thing about being a Michael Innes fan is that he wrote so much, and he lived such a very, very long time, that you’ll never run out of books to read.


  38. Dim Undercellar

    Before my feminist conversion, I loved pretty much anything by C.S. Friedman, particularly “This Alien Shore” and “Dark Sun Rising”. But I haven’t had a chance to re-read any of her work post-conversion, so I don’t know if I’d hate it now or not.

    Best just to stick to Robert Asprin’s “Myth” series. Start with “Another Fine Myth”, but stop after “Myth Inc. in Action”. For his Sci-Fi work, he made two really funny books in the Phule’s Company series (“Phule’s Company” and “Phule’s Paradise”), but past that his alcoholism got the better of him.

  39. Dim Undercellar

    Oh, and super-glad to see you back. When are you announcing your presidential run? Who will be your running mate? The people need to know!

  40. kathy a

    thank god, sara, i thought i might be the only one hooked on peters — just re-read “the last camel died at noon.” antelope — walter mosely is also wonderful. also gar anthony haywood, although i think he hasn’t published in a few years.

    so, twisty — please prevail on whatever help you need to get the bookmobile in action. and here’s to tacos — if we could send ’em via amazon, you’d be in hog heaven. xoxoxoxoo

  41. Stephanie

    Glad to see you survived both hospital and hospital food. Please do put up an Amazon list; I’d love to send you something diverting.

    I third (fourth? fifth?) the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody series. They’re delicious. Also Nevada Barr (her Anna Pigeon is who I want to be when I grow up) and Laurie King-both the Mary Russell series and the one about the lesbian cop.

    For science fiction Lois McMaster Bujold has no equal, on my bookshelves at least. Her fantasy series is also excellent (not dragons and unicorns fantasy at all-it’s beautiful, complex stuff.)

  42. ae

    Twisty, good Kee-rist, a little warning before the gorey stuff. I almost fainted looking at that, that, stuff on the plate. Smelling salts, please! Was there an Ipecac packet next to the syrup, perchance? 21st century medicine, indeed.

    I’m so glad you’re back and not in pain!!! So glad your pal Rachel is with you!! Presents for Rachel, too! (Apologies for the excessive punctuation; these are special circumstances and regular rules have been temporarily suspended.)

    Someone mentioned scars above and in the last thread, and I am here to deliver my thoughts on the subject: I love them. I’ve been an athlete my whole life, and I value every bump and scrape and bruise as a measure of my effort. We are in another world here, but nonetheless, your scar looks awesome, in the original meaning of the word, and in the bad-ass meaning of the word. I’m fucking thrilled you’re alive.

    Typepad has a set-up-able Wish List thingie built in: Go to DESIGN, click on CONTENT SELECTIONS, and you’ll find Amazon Wish List under “Your Sidebar Content.” There is a link to configuring the Wish List there. I don’t have one, so I’m not sure what is entailed at that point, but get it up, woman! Pip pip!

    Welcome back, Twisty. Sending cleaned-out-insides vibes.

  43. Kyra

    I recommend the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. They follow the adventures of Amelia, who is an Egyptologist, amateur detective, and *extraordinary* patriarchy-blamer, in the late 19th & early 20th centuries. Thouroughly awesome.

    Eeek. I’d have knocked the anesthesiologist to the upper stratosphere for all that.

  44. larkspur

    Good lord, the food. Hell, when you wake up, it’d be hard to guess whether you’re in the hospital or on a damned airplane. Uncomfortable, stale, noisy, expensive… and then they bring food.

    You should get that anesthesiologist’s name and let one of us (who’s wholly unrelated to you or your circumstances) file a complaint with the Texas medical board.

    And Nevada Barr…yay! Her character, Anna Pigeon, is tremendously likeable, even when she’s being stubborn and grumpy.

    Don’t forget the children’s section of the library. I just read Lois Lowry’s SF books The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger.

  45. bitchphd

    Amazon: dog toys? gourmet foodstuff? cacti? bird and bug books? gardening books? Dorothy Parker?

    I was also thinking DVDs, stuff you can watch while feeling cruddy on the couch. Buffy, of course, is great, if you don’t already have those–and they’ll last you quite some time if various folks manage to send you all seven seasons. Plus, fun, ass-kicking feminism. I find most of Almodovar’s stuff quite feminist in spirit, and also really enjoyable. Lilo and Stitch, surprisingly, is actually really fun for grownups. Frida was good. Sadly, I hardly ever see movies any more, so I can’t really recommend anything terribly current….

    I also have a particular piece I want to send you, but it’s short; I think when I’m back in town next week I’ll scan it in and send it to you as a .pdf, actually.

  46. shannon

    I second the Octavia Butler. Thanks for showing us courage at this time, and I hope you feel better soon.

  47. Leslie in CA

    If you weren’t sick already, the food would sure do it. Ugh. I’m glad you’re back home and posting.

    Yes, you should set up a wishlist soonest, and I second (or whatever number is appropriate) the Tim Cockey suggestion if you like some occasional comic relief in your mysteries. I’m also a big Sayers fan, but most of my current collection runs more to the American/noirish side, which I gather from the comments above is not your thing.

    However, I’ll throw out a few names that I didn’t see upthread, in case you might want to try some new material: Deborah Crombie, who writes a contemporary British police procedural series that I quite like; Val McDermid, a Scottish author who has two series, one featuring a British detective/forensic psychologist pair, and the other featuring a lesbian protagonist; and John Connolly, who is not to everyone’s taste but whom I love because he writes beautifully. He does a mystery/thriller series with otherwordly inflections.

    Keep kicking patriarchal butt!

  48. ripley

    on sci-fi – Liz Williams – she’s a badass, and patriarchy blamer, especially Empire of Bones and Banner of Souls. Gory, feminist, political, and non-US-centric.

    keep up the fight, Sorry about the breakfast.

  49. Southern Style

    Gotta third and fourth the Octavia Butler for the patriarchy blamin’ Deep South. I am an English PhD student born & raised here, and read Kindred by her in a course. Never liked a SF in my life, but I *twistally* recommend this one. Definitely. Speaking of, some sort of wish list or PO Box or other such outlet is definitely necessary with this here crowd, before there’s a riot. We wanna keep the Twisty twisting, and this is our only outlet. So come on with it. You can set up a wishlist, a PO Box, or some mediator…but we gotta give! Like John Lee Hooker said, “It’s in ‘um, and it’s gotta come out!” We gotta boogie on towards twistier times.
    Much love, Southern Style

  50. Tammy

    Glad you are home and mending! Authors eh? Elizabeth George for mysteries, and although not SF, Neil Gaiman writes great fantasy. Nevermore and American Gods were great. And Terry Pratchett is too funny for words, and a bit of patriarchy blaming in the later works, “Monstrous Regiment” comes to mind. Take care, sleep lots, eat tonnes. Hey, maybe take up knitting! You know us knitters are always ready to blame the patriarchy!

  51. Kate

    I was in hospital a while ago after a car accident that saw half my face cut open. The surgeon who was stitching me up told me I looked like a pile of cat shit. (Indeed.) Doctors, especially surgeons, are arseholes, pure and simple. Necessary arseholes, but still.

    I have no reading recommendations — other than Margaret Atwood, whom I’m sure you’ve read — though ‘Firefly’ is a great series to enjoy while recuperating, and the Serenity movie isn’t bad either.

  52. peacebug

    I second tammy’s rec of elizabeth george.

    mysteries & thrillers are excellent to move a mind away from the patriarchy.

    wine works well, too. and oh yeah – margaritas!

  53. rose

    If you feel the need for a bit of snark you might like
    you probably already read his blog, but in case not, no fluid consumption while reading. It will come out your nose.
    Best to you

  54. MsKate

    You ate that? Twisty, you are so brave.

    Then again, it probably wasn’t as bad as the food I had to eat after I had a baaayyyybeeee.

    ;-) Just kidding.

    Get well soon!

  55. masterfraud

    Rockstar. You wear your war wounds stunningly. Poor graduate student myself (thanks, UT), I can’t afford to send you a book. But maybe I can direct you to a great website of a local Austinite and her delicious short stories… click on any on the right side of the site. Randa is almost as divine as you.


  56. mcmc

    If you like the terribly british mystery, you might want to swerve a bit and try P.G. Wodehouse. Teh Funny. I recommend Life With Jeeves.

  57. Jenny

    If you’ve got time – I thought of you when I found http://www.equalityzone.org/

  58. Lisa

    Long time lurker just signing to send more love–thanks for your photos and for continuing to post at this time. I’m another one of your knitting readers and would love to send you a cozy knitted thing that isn’t too hot for Austin.

  59. Becker

    Hey, sf fans, where’s the Nancy Collins love? Sonja Blue was Buffy before Buffy was cool.

  60. anne

    ah, home. good.

    sleep well, and long, while we all sit out here on the porch nattering in our best blaming bonnets, waiting for you to let us know what else we can do besides the book-stuff. Like, do any of the good taco places in Austin deliver? Is there a home-visiting masseuse-type-person who responds to credit cards from a distance? Has your neighborhood got its “we proclaim you empress of the universe so you can control everything because we trust your decision-making abilities” franchise so I can use up there all the green stamps I’ve collected while waiting for the right time to use them?

  61. Grace

    ABSOLUTELY Ursula LeGuin. Kick-ass feminist SF and also a lot of other random stuff – fantasy, fake historical novels, short stories (I hate short stories, but I love hers). Unfortunately, she actually WORKS on her writing so she doesn’t provide the sheer volume that some other SF writers do, but if you haven’t read her, DO.

  62. Sunya Harjis

    Various Douglas Adams books in txt format. They are stupid and short but that’s okay when your attention span is shot. Then there’s a bunch of Philip K Dick books if you want something a little smarter. Then there’s the Prelinger Archives for syrupy, worrying, patriarchy-fetishizing old documentaries and educational features in a variety of video formats; from the same guys there is also a sizeable library of classic films including some Gene Kelly pieces, murder mysteries, and lots and lots of A-1 retarded serials. I guess there should also be some Raymond Chandler novels involved.

    I glibly make the assumption that stuff that is free and already on your computer beats stuff that you have to get up from a chair or leave the house for and then pony up to enjoy. Kick the chaise lounge to the front of your monitor and recline. If madame lacks a video player for her computer, I recommend VLC player as it installs quickly, painlessly, without anything intrusive, and it plays almost anything you throw at it.

  63. laurelin

    Glad to see you’re home again, Twisty. Sending ya lots of love

  64. Vicerine of GB

    My suggestions:
    The ‘Sister Fidelma’ series of Celtic mysteries by Peter Tremayne;
    The ‘V.I. Warshawski’ series of Chicago mysteries by Sara Paretsky.
    Of course there is the DTWOF comic strip series by Alison Bechdel, but I suppose it will be painful for you to laugh too hard!

  65. flea

    I’m so glad you’re home again and posting photos of horrifying food. Please add my voice to the chorus of people wanting you to put together an Amazon wishlist (or Powell’s, if they do that). I don’t want my book selection to be the cause of you straining yourself when you throw it across the room.

  66. Christine

    I don’t know why I didn’t mention her in my last post, but for mystery-type authors, I’m a big fan or Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. Scarpetta is a Medical Examiner, so these books are what I’d call Forensic/Mystery.

  67. Jan

    “the hole in my chest that previously contained my right breast.”

    Doesn’t the picture show surgery on the left breast?

  68. piny

    >>”the hole in my chest that previously contained my right breast.”

    Doesn’t the picture show surgery on the left breast?>>

    Must be a lingering effect of the anesthetic. Go have a wee liedown, Twisty.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s a photograph of an image in a mirror. The image is reversed–so it is in fact Twisty’s right side.

  69. Megin


    Wow… I would have run in the opposite direction at the sight of that food, let alone IV man! I second the Laurie King recommendation. She has two main series running: Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the first book in the Mary Russell Holmes (yes, as in Sherlock) series. Light enough to read in a few hours, and the heroine is busy kicking patriarchal butt at the turn of the century. The other focuses on a female detective in the modern era, though I can’t think of the name right now. Best wishes for a swift recovery, and keep on blaming the patriarchy!

  70. Rana

    Authors… Connie Willis, seconding C.S. Friedman and Neil Gaiman and Elizabeth Peters, China Mieville, and David Brin.

    That “meal” looks horrid — I’ve always thought hospitals would be a long torture session for me: bad food, lots of light and noise and people waking you up at all hours, chilly rooms, funky smells — I’m glad you’re home!

    I also have to express sympathy for the anesthesia; I’ve only been under once (the scariest part of getting my wisdom teeth pulled at age 32) and I had the misfortune to wake up part-way through it. GAAAH! So, again, I’m glad you’ve come out on the other side of the experience!

    Keep on keepin’ on, Twisty – we’re all pulling for you.

  71. Sheelzebub

    Glad you’re home!

    I’m reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. It’s not a mystery, but I think you’d like it–it’s hysterical.

    You’re in my thoughts.

  72. Jan

    PINY: Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s a photograph of an image in a mirror. The image is reversed–so it is in fact Twisty’s right side.

    Duh! You’re right! My bad.

    I’m new to this blog. It goes without saying, Twisty, that I admire the bejeezus out of you for posting all this and wish you the best.

    With respect to the intersection of:

    A. Blaming the patriarchy
    B. Breast cancer

    it seems worth bringing up the brilliant documentary film called Rachel’s Daughters which documents the way the patriarchy (in the form of korporate amerika) contributes to breast cancer.

    Not recommended viewing for you right now. Given what you are going through (which I can barely imagine), I’d recommend flix like:

    1. A fish named Wanda
    2. What’s up, Doc? (Barbara Stresand+ Ryan O’Neill HAS to be good for post-surgery recovery!)
    3. Fargo
    4. Annie Hall

    But for all the posters on this blog who might actually be interested in the way that our patriarchal society contributes to the increase in the prevalance of breast cancer, Rachel’s Daughters is a MUST SEE.

  73. Steve

    Good to hear from you again, Twisty, and welcome home. If it doesn’t hurt too much to laugh, pick up any of Donald Westlake’s books about a crook named Dortmunder. Sort of like what would happen if Bush finally figured out his real talent lay in breaking and entering.

  74. larkspur

    Hey, Twisty darlin. I checked into Dr. Gin Blossom a little. (This is all a matter of public record; I’m not revealing anything confidential.) He was born in 1940, graduated from medical school in 1967, interned at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii and did his residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He got his Texas license in 1974 and has hospital privileges all over Austin. There’s no record of any discipline or reportable claims against him.

    He ain’t no octogenarian, just looks like one, I guess. Probably lots of Vietnam veterans got anesthetized by him.

    These internets are interesting, huh.

  75. mythago

    There’s no record of any discipline or reportable claims against him.

    Boy, that needs changing.

  76. larkspur

    Yeah, mythago, the “no record of discipline or reportable claims” usually means something very, very specific. For example, a physician could have umpteen complaints filed with the Medical Board over the years, but upon investigation, the Medical Board declined to pursue any of them, or decided the complaint was without merit. Thus: no record of discipline. (Note that this is a wholly separate procedure from when a plaintiff files a civil malpractice suit, which will result in a public record.)

    Also, in California (at least as of several years ago), if a physician settled a claim for an amount under $25,000, he or she was not obligated to report this to the Medical Board.

    These are not necessarily bad policies at all. I know of one psychiatrist whose patient was involved in a contentious divorce. The patient’s spouse – a angry, hurt person – filed a complaint with the Medical Board that accused the psychiatrist of having over-medicated the patient, with deleterious effects on the marriage, blah blah blah. Investigators from the Medical Board opened a file, requested records, interviewed the doc and the complainant, and saw very quickly that the complaint was without merit. The file was closed, and anyone doing research on that psychiatrist would not find any reference to the claim.

    That seems fair to me. On the other hand, it’s hard to crack the “protecting our own” culture in medicine, and I’m sure complaints get rejected when they shouldn’t.

    But the point is that you have to read the Medical Board information very literally. Also, simply checking the physician’s Medical Board record will not reveal any civil suit records. You’d need to check for civil suits – pending or archived – in all county jurisdictions in which the physician has practiced.

    I don’t know anything about this anesthesiologist, not really. But filing a complaint with the Medical Board could result in an unpublished but helpful recommendation or requirement that the physician participate in (for example) a substance abuse program, or a period of working under peer-review circumstances. Or it could spur the subject physician into an honest self-appraisal resulting in retirement.

  77. suezboo

    The burning question remains :

    Does a uniboobal patriarchy-blamer with functioning obstreperal gland still have wazoo Issues ? Or not?

  78. Twisty

    Thanks for asking. My wazoo is self-regenerating, and should be fully online within a few days.

  79. Chris Clarke

    My wazoo is self-regenerating,

    Stem cells are Da Bomb.

  80. Indri

    I know I shouldn’t laugh, but the line about the jet of your “own personal blood” was too damn funny. Best of luck to you on your recovery–and reading all these books!

  81. Crys T

    Damn Twisty, I was really surprised to see you back in action so quickly!

    I’m so glad.

  82. laura gayle

    Kick a**, honey. Need anything knitted, warm and cozy? Just e-mail with your preferred colors and item.

    And report the alkie. No one needs that. Especially Twisty. Thank you for sharing the post-op photo, painful though that is.

    Sending you warm thoughts, healing energy and all good things.

  1. Commeo

    On Being Blunt and Honest

    I don’t know Twisty, but her posts about her recent diagnosis with breast cancer strike me in the same way that Didion and Allison’s work do. They’re honest, and her writing and pictures have a power all their own because of that. In addition, I pers…

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