Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Tales of Tolvenia’

My last post about life was pretty depressing, but there was at least a hint of hope towards the end. I’ve now been taking steroids for my ulcerative colitis flare-up for a little over two weeks, and the improvement, while it’s been slow, is also marked. I’m still getting the bowel pains, but much less frequently and at a much lower intensity. Bathroom trips are required only about four times a day.

Most importantly, perhaps, I’m eating again and have the energy to pretty much function normally. I’m still a bit weak, though: walking up steps is harder than it used to be, my knees feel ancient if I squat or kneel and my voice is quiet(er than usual).

I have steroid pills for another four weeks, slowly tapering off in quantity; the previous fortnight I was taking eight a day, this week it’s seven, next week, six, and so on. The doctor recommended not having a colonoscopy at the moment, as sticking a camera up your guts can aggravate symptoms (I’m paraphrasing).

If, after this current prescription runs out, things are still abnormal, he suggested a sigmoidoscopy (which is a colonoscopy of only the last part of the large intestine). He also gave the names of a probiotic treatment – VSL#3 – and an immune suppressant – infliximab – to look into as promising additional UC treatments.

Habiba and I passed our two-year milestone a week ago. Celebrations were muted because of my health – and hers, for that matter; she’s been sick with a bad cold – but we had a nice day, buying a shelving unit for our kitchen area, walking along the Han River Park and disagreeing fundamentally about philosophy and the nature of the world.

However, this latter interlude concluded with the exchange: me: ‘Would you still love me if I stayed a rationalist atheist for the rest of my life?’ she: ‘It’ll be tiring, but, yes, I suppose so.’ That was possibly the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me and it made me feel a swell of happiness and love for Habiba.

Last week – having started it a couple of months earlier – I felt able to resume running my roleplaying game using the 2d6-based system I’ve designed. Although the system is a little on the complex side, it’s been working fairly well so far – better than one might expect for the inaugural run of a homebrew system.

I’m constantly changing it as we go along, though. I’m particularly proud of the magic system – but at first it turned out to be overly powerful as well as uneven. In about the third session, one character, with the aid of a couple of other casters, managed to resurrect three dead villagers. That’s no longer possible – at least until the character gains the very expensive Healing Magic Perfection feat.

The world and story are also of my own making, and things are progressing well – although I have only the vaguest idea where things are headed as yet.

I’ve started work on finding a new job, probably for September, which means going through the whole rigmarole of getting a subject access check from the police, getting it notarised and apostilled – possibly getting a copy of my degree similarly authenticated (I already have some copies from 2006 that I never used) – getting more sealed transcripts of my degree results, transferring money to my sister so she can coordinate all that, getting it all sent back to me in Korea, actually finding a job and finally making a visa run to another country to pick up my visa. Tedious. I also need to get out of the country briefly by the 7th of May when my current tourist visa runs out.

In the meantime, I need to get back on track with my writing. I’ve had some Critters feedback, recently, on the last story I finished – I’ve been so lacking in energy that for a long time I didn’t even read or respond to the e-mails. Most of the comments have been constructive, and even positive; the problems that have been highlighted make sense, and there are some I need to think hard about how to fix, but I don’t think they’re irremediable.

And then there’s my novel. I feel that there’s still a lot of work to be done before I can even begin on the actual text. Before I got sick, I was coming up with ideas for characters, plot points and world-building; none of which has solidified into something I’m 100% satisfied with.

I started going to a free Korean class provided by the Korean Foundation Cultural Center near City Hall in February. It was hard work. The teacher didn’t make too many concessions to the students’ lack of ability, practice or confidence (there were about half a dozen of us). However, I was able to pick what was being taught and passed the test at the end of the month easily. Then I was sick for a month.

Last week I went back for the next level and found my self part of a much larger class (maybe twelve or more people); the teacher this time went much more slowly – too slowly, even – and, by the end of two hours, we’d covered a fair amount of material. I even learnt a Korean idiom – dwaeji ggumeul gguda – to dream a pig dream. If Koreans have a pig dream, they should go out and buy a lottery ticket because it’s considered good luck financially.

The other day, I permitted Habiba to give me a haircut. I’d already shaved ealier in the day, removing a couple of months’ worth of bushy, homeless-person beard growth. My hair was getting a bit floppy, a bit mulletty in the back – and, with spring here and my health returning, I thought it was time for a change. Habiba had been pestering me to either get it cut or to let her do it for a while. She literally rolled on the floor in joy when I gave her the news.

She set to with her scissors for about an hour, periodically stepping back to look at my shrinking barnet in worry. Apparently, she hadn’t been doing a very good job. When I suggested she try using a comb, she said, Oh, yeah – that’s what they do. It got better after that, but in order to even things up she needed to take off a lot more hair. The result is pretty much a crewcut – perhaps the shortest haircut I’ve ever had. I’m quite happy with it, actually – it makes me look younger and it’s totally practical.

A week before we moved into our new place in Cheongdam-dong, we received a cat from one of Habiba’s colleagues who was leaving the country. Billie is a brown tabby with white paws and breast. After lots of changes in her life – moving to our old place, moving to our new place, putting up with lots of furniture rearrangement – she’s settled into her new life and seems happy.

Unfortunately, Habiba is convinced that Billie doesn’t like her. The cat, on the other hand, is quite attached to me – she’ll curl up in my lap and sleep at my feet at night. She also likes to dash about randomly and leap up the bathroom doorpost. We finally have a use for the fish-and-feathers-on-a-string-on-a-stick cat toy we bought in Thailand over a year ago.

In short, then, normal service is resuming. About time, too.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »