Sunday, April 1, 2012

This week's Catch-All

I've been very busy the past three or four weeks working on a paper for a neurology journal with neurogeneticists Frank Lehman-Horn and Karen Jurkatt-Rott. These are two of the finest minds (as well as the nicest people) in the field of channelopathy genetics and I was gobsmacked when Frank invited me to co-author a paper with them. I'd have been thrilled to have shined their shoes or pressed their lab coats!

It's been a steep learning curve. Though I've written hundreds of articles and several books on neurological subjects, I've never written for this caliber of audience and I've learned a tremendous amount.

I thought when I sent off the "final-final" edit about ten days ago that I'd hammered down the last nail. Frank and Karen were going to add some slides and expand on the discussion. But somewhere along the road from final final to press someone did what I often do, and turned the paper on its head.

With an appeal, "Please don't hate me!" I got a request this morning to populate five pages of tables with patient-by-patient statistical comparisons - by Monday. This means going back to the original data and pulling out the information piece by piece. Eighteen hours later I have just finished one of five tables. I started with the "easy" one.

It's a groaner of a job, but as I'm doing it I can see why it's valuable. Patterns are emerging that were not apparent before. Funnily enough I did the original research as a sort of "test run" for a much larger project, just to get the feel of the software. I never actually thought I'd uncover new information.

Garden Meeting

My garden meeting went well. Ten people showed up, including an older Indian couple who live around the corner. They speak very little English. Their granddaughter came as translator with her Granddad. But I've been dying to meet them. We pass in the hallway - she is tiny and uses a walker, he walks with great difficulty but they are always smiling and cheerful. I hope we can transcend the language barrier and become friends. The other attendees were from young to older, some who had gardened before and some who never have. I'm not sure all will participate, but if we have five or six it's a start. It should be fun!

And something no one should have to find

Day before yesterday one of the ladies who had come to the garden meeting came to the door, quite upset and in tears. She couldn't explain what was wrong, but asked me to come with her. As we got off the elevator on the third floor the smell was overpowering. She led me to a door, and it was obvious the smell was coming from the apt inside. I couldn't reach our management company or any other board members so called the police and explained the situation.

The young man who lived there had been in the hospital for 10 days, and had been back about 10 days. Asking around, no one had seen him the previous week, but his mother had gone south for a holiday so the neighbours thought he'd gone to join her.

Alas, not so. The police came, broke down the door and found the poor fellow had been lying there dead for over a week. It was not foul play, or even suicide, the coroner had made the assumption while here that the young guy had taken his medication and then had several drinks, which is a no-no with so many prescription drugs.

So it has been a week filled with incident as Lady Bracknell would say. I have now decompressed from my hours of statistical concentration and am going to go off to my comfy bed. Tomorrow is a brand new day.

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